Kornstedt v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 021820 PACCA, 493 C.D. 2019

Docket Nº:493 C.D. 2019
Opinion Judge:MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, PRESIDENT JUDGE
Party Name:Ebony U. L. Kornstedt, Petitioner v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Respondent
Judge Panel:BEFORE: HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, PRESIDENT JUDGE HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, JUDGE HONORABLE CHRISTINE FIZZANO CANNON, JUDGE
Case Date:February 18, 2020
Court:Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Ebony U. L. Kornstedt, Petitioner

v.

Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Respondent

No. 493 C.D. 2019

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

February 18, 2020

OPINION NOT REPORTED

Submitted: November 27, 2019

BEFORE: HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, PRESIDENT JUDGE HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, JUDGE HONORABLE CHRISTINE FIZZANO CANNON, JUDGE

MEMORANDUM OPINION

MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, PRESIDENT JUDGE

Ebony U. L. Kornstedt (Claimant), pro se, petitions for review of an adjudication of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying her claim for benefits under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), 43 P.S. §802(e).1 In doing so, the Board found that Claimant's refusal to follow her employer's directive constituted willful misconduct for which she lacked good cause. For the following reasons, we affirm.

Claimant worked full-time for Statesman Health and Rehabilitation Center (Employer) as a certified nursing assistant beginning on September 17, 2017. Her last day was October 17, 2018. Claimant filed a claim for unemployment compensation benefits, which the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Service Center granted. Employer appealed, and the Referee held a hearing on December 27, 2018.

At the outset of the hearing, the Referee explained that she would determine whether Claimant's conduct on her last day of work constituted disqualifying willful misconduct under Section 402(e) of the Law. However, when Employer's Director of Nursing, Jamy Vonberg, testified that Claimant voluntarily quit, the Referee received both parties' consent to consider Claimant's separation under both Section 402(e) and Section 402(b) of the Law.[2]

Vonberg testified that when Employer is short-staffed, nursing assistants may be temporarily reassigned to work in units or wings different than their normally assigned locations in order to ensure continuity of care. A week before the separating incident, Vonberg explained this practice to Claimant.

On October 17, 2018, Employer assigned Claimant to work in a different wing. When Claimant did not report to her reassigned area, Vonberg confronted her. Claimant stated that when Vonberg explained the reassignment policy to Claimant the previous week, it was Claimant's understanding that she would never be assigned to work in a different wing. Vonberg explained that while Employer would try to avoid modifying Claimant's assignment, it would do so if the need arose. Claimant again refused to work in the different unit.

Vonberg testified that she attempted to find another nursing assistant to cover for Claimant but was unsuccessful. She then told Claimant that she had to report to the other wing and would return to her regular unit the next day. Notes of Testimony (N.T.), 12/27/2018, at 6. Claimant replied, "[y]ou guys run this place like a bunch of idiots, I'll just quit and you can pay me unemployment[.]" Id. at 6. When Claimant continued to be loud and disruptive, Vonberg told Claimant to clock out, thereby suspending her employment. Claimant began gathering her belongings, but continued being disruptive at the nurses' station.

Claimant testified on her own behalf. Claimant explained her comments to Vonberg as follows: I said the words that you guys run...

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