Getting Fired for Requesting Pay for Hours Not Actually Worked

In City of Easton v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, 562 Pa. 438, 756 A.2d 1107 (2000), the Supreme Court held that the ability to discharge a laborer at the City's water department for theft of services was essential to the City's ability to perform its public function. In City of Easton, the employee was fired from his job at the City's water treatment facility for: requesting and receiving pay for hours not actually worked; falsifying records by recording data that implied that he had treated the drinking water supply with purification chemicals on occasions when he had not; and neglecting his duties by failing to treat the public water supply with the proper chemicals. City of Easton, 562 Pa. at 440, 756 A.2d at 1108. The arbitration board considered the falsification of time records "stealing", meaning that the employee was stealing time from the City. Because the City could not bargain away this right, the arbitrator's decision to transform a discharge into a suspension was set aside. Our Supreme Court emphasized the need for government to have the powers that are essential to the proper discharge of functions entrusted to that governmental body.