Getting Fired for Not Following Employer's ''Unreasonable'' Instructions

In Bickling v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 17 Pa. Commw. 619, 333 A.2d 519 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1975), the claimant, a housemother in a cottage housing mentally retarded girls, did not keep the thermostat at 75 degrees at all times, as directed. The claimant reduced the temperature at night because the girls, clad in flannel nightclothes and covered by warm blankets, were uncomfortably warm. This Court found that the claimant had acted in the best interests of the girls, and therefore, although her conduct was "in contravention of her employer's instructions," it "simply did not rise to the level of willful misconduct." Id. at 522.