Monday, January 10, 2011

Is Sleeping on the Job Willful Misconduct for Purposes of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law?

Unemployment Claims Attorney Serving Philadelphia Area

Sleeping on the job has often been viewed as willful misconduct in Pennsylvania, thereby providing a basis for disqualifying an employee from receiving unemployment benefits. However, Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court (which is where appeals from Referee's decisions may ultimately end up) recently held that an employee who unintentionally fell asleep due to sleep apnea was entitled to unemployment compensation. 

Unemployment Benefits Lawyer Who Regularly Handles Hearings in Malvern, Norristown, Springfield, Bristol and Reading

In Philadelphia Parking Authority v. UCBR, the employee was often required to sit in a room for hours during second shift (3-11 p.m.) with little or nothing to do.  Due to her sleep apnea, she would sometimes fall asleep.  The employee told the employer about her problem, and asked for more work to keep her active and alert.  However, she did not receive such additional work and, after falling asleep 4 times over a short period of time, she was fired for repeatedly violatinmg the employer's work rule that prohibited sleeping on the job.

Law Firm Representing Employees in Unemployment Hearings in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County and Philadelphia

This case represents a shift in the law in Pennsylvania.  If you have a job that sometimes causes you to be sleepy, report the problem to the Company; if it fails to act to provide you with duties that will help you stay awake, and you are subsequently fired, you may still be entitled to unemployment benefits.

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