Friday, June 26, 2015

UC - willful misconduct - absences

Beck v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – unreported memorandum opinion – June 16, 2015



Absences alone, although possibly grounds for discharge, do not necessarily constitute willful misconduct. Vargas v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 486 A.2d 1050, 1051 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1985). At least one of the following elements must be present to justify the denial of benefits: (1) excessive absenteeism; (2) failure to notify the employer in advance of the absence; (3) lack of good or adequate cause for the absence; (4) disobedience of an employer’s policy; or (5) disregard of warnings. Id. at 1052. “An employer has the right to expect [its] employee[s] to maintain regular working hours and to comply with office procedures.” Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Glenn, 350 A.2d 890, 892 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1976).


Once the employer meets its burden, the burden of proof shifts to the employee to prove that he had good cause for his actions. Guthrie, 738 A.2d at 522. The employee establishes good cause where his actions are justified or reasonable under the circumstances. Frumento v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 351 A.2d 631, 634 (Pa. 1976). Whether a claimant has good cause to violate a work policy is a question of law subject to our review and should be viewed in light

of all of the attendant circumstances. Docherty v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 898 A.2d 1205, 1208 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006).



The opinion, though not reported, may be cited "for its persuasive value, but not as binding precedent."    210 Pa. Code 69.414.


If the case is not recent, the link in this posting may not work.  In that case, search for the case by name and date on Westlaw, Lexis, Google Scholar, or the court website