Section 402(E) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law
Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law provides:
An employe shall be ineligible for compensation for any week-
(e) In which his unemployment is due to his discharge or temporary suspension from work for willful misconduct connected with his work, irrespective of whether or not such work is "employment" as defined in this act. 43 P.S. 802(e).
In Penflex, Inc. v. Bryson, 506 Pa. 274, 294, 485 A.2d 359, 369 (1984) (Penflex), our Supreme Court addressed, inter alia, the question of whether employee participation in a strike, which purportedly violated federal labor law, constituted willful misconduct under Section 402(e) of the the Unemployment Compensation Law. Id. at 289-90, 485 A.2d at 367.
There, the claimants engaged in a work stoppage before their labor union notified the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service of the contract dispute as required by Section 8(d) of the NLRA. Id. at 281, 485 A.2d at 362.
Consequently, the employer terminated the claimants for participating in what the employer deemed to be an "illegal" strike.
Rejecting the employer's argument that participation in a work stoppage in violation of Section 8(d) of the NLRA must be deemed "willful misconduct" under Section 402(e) of the Law, the Supreme Court stated:
To hold that participation in a strike in contravention of federal law constitutes willful misconduct under Section 402(e) would require the courts, in every case, to determine whether an alleged infraction of federal law in fact occurred and, if so, whether the strike must be deemed illegal on account of the infraction.
Any such attempt to construe and apply federal law in these situations would constitute an impermissible intrusion into the regulatory jurisdiction of the NLRB under Section 8 of the NLRA. Id. at 293, 485 A.2d at 369.