In a recent decision, the Commonwealth Court considered a part-time employee’s eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits after she was fired for disregarding her employer’s prior directive to not work past the end of her shift after punching out–and upheld the award of benefits!
Continue Reading Employee Fired for Working Additional Hours Eligible for UC Benefits Despite Prior Warning

This case demonstrates not only that clear and effective employment policies can be crucial to supporting employment decisions, but also that preparing in advance for responding to claims and participating in administrative proceedings will afford employers the best opportunity to successfully challenge non-qualifying UC claims. The employer was successful in this case because it presented relevant witness testimony and policies at the hearing. Employers can control overall unemployment compensation costs, send the right message, and maintain the integrity of its workplace policies and standards of conduct by challenging UC claims when warranted and sufficiently preparing in advance when responding to claims and participating in UC proceedings.
Continue Reading Long-Term Employee Ineligible for UC Benefits for Violating Workplace Conduct Policies

A Pennsylvania man lost his job in September 2012 and is now without unemployment compensation. Why? He called his boss a “clown.”

On October 17, 2013, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the decision of an unemployment compensation Referee and the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review denying Alfonso Miller unemployment benefits.

Miller, a 5-year employee of a private Philadelphia-based organization providing comprehensive services to individuals with disabilities, had some choice words for his supervisor during his regularly scheduled performance evaluation. After calling his supervisor a “[expletive] clown” and referring to the entire evaluation process as a joke, Miller was fired from his job.
Continue Reading Calling Your Boss a Clown: No Laughing Matter

Historically, in determining whether an employee discharged for absenteeism and tardiness was eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, the court’s analysis had focused on the final incident that led to termination. Specifically, even where the employer could point to a pattern of excessive absenteeism as the cause for discharge, the employee was not disqualified from receiving benefits if the last absence was justified. Late last year, however, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision that appears to undermines this “last in time” approach.
Continue Reading Employee’s History of Absenteeism Sufficient to Deny UC Benefits Even if Final Incident Justified