Firing An Employee for Misconduct Which Occurred Before His Work Related Injury

In Somerset Welding and Steel v. Workmen's Comp. Appeal Bd. (Lee), 168 Pa. Commw. 78, 650 A.2d 114 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1994), the claimant, who had a history of work-place misconduct, sustained an injury on March 26 and, for that pre-injury misconduct as well as one incident of misconduct following the injury, employer fired him on March 28. Our court ruled as follows: Here, the referee found that Claimant's injury occurred prior to the termination of his employment. Therefore, Claimant's loss of earnings resulted from a disability due to an injury, which consequently entitled him to benefits as of March 27, 1991. However, on March 28, 1991, Employer justifiably terminated Claimant's employment because of Claimant's history of misconduct, with the last event occurring after the injury when claimant failed to properly report his absence. Thus, Claimant's loss of earnings beginning March 28, 1991, resulted from his discharge and his compensation for loss of earnings should have been suspended on that date. Moreover, that suspension should have continued for the period of his disability. Id. at 119. Accordingly, the court determined that employer incurred no liability for lost earnings after March 28, the date of post-injury misconduct.