Tuesday, September 20, 2016

UC - willful misconduct - fighting

Armstrong World Industries v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – 9-15-16 – unreported* memorandum opinion


“Even in the absence of a written policy, fighting may be considered a disregard of the standards of behavior that an employer can expect from its employees, even when the claimant was not the initial aggressor.” Miller v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 83 A.3d 484, 487 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2014).

In such situations, where a claimant has the opportunity to retreat and seek help but instead willingly continues to escalate the situation, the claimant’s actions are “neither reasonable nor justifiable and [do] not constitute good cause.” Rivera v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 526 A.2d 1253, 1256 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1987).

However, when a claimant has a reasonable belief of imminent bodily harm and fears he is in danger of an assault, he is justified in using reasonable retaliatory force for purposes of self-defense. Miller, 83 A.3d at 487 (“using reasonable force in self-defense is, in some situations, justifiable”); see also Sun Oil Company v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 408 A.2d 1169, 1171 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1979) (“A reasonable belief of imminent bodily harm and feared danger of an assault justifies reasonable retaliatory force.”).
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*An unreported Commonwealth Court case may not be cited binding precedent but can be cited for its persuasive value.  See 210 Pa. Code § 69.414(b) and Pa. R.A.P.  3716

If the case is old, the link may have become stale and may not work, but you can use the case name, court, and date to find the opinion in another source (e.g., Westlaw, Lexis, Google Scholar)


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