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Repeated Absences From Work Can Stop You om Getting Unemployment

By: Linda B. Maalouf, Esq.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania was recently tasked with considering whether an employee was eligible for benefits after being fired for excessive absences. The employee inGrand Sport Auto Body v. UCBR was warned repeatedly after showing a pattern of unexcused lateness and absences, including 19 incidents in a period of less than six months. Close the end of his employment, the employee requested and was granted time off to get married in Mexico. On March 21, 2011, the employee's flight home from Mexico was overbooked. He therefore was unable to return to work on March 22, 2011 as scheduled. When he finally returned to work the following day, he was suspended and later fired because of his "history of attendance and tardy arrivals."

Acting on his application for unemployment compensation benefits, the referee found the employee to be eligible for benefits because the last absence was justified due to circumstances out of his control when his flight was rescheduled. The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review agreed with the referee.

On appeal, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania concluded that the decisions finding the employee eligible for benefits were improper. Focusing on the employee's overall history rather than just the circumstances of his final absence, the Court held that excessive absenteeism may rise to the level of willful misconduct and result in a denial of benefits even when the final absence was justified.

If you have questions about how this law might affect you, contact the law firm of Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

THE FOREGOING IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.

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