Inability to drive your own car may not disqualify you from unemployment compensation

Posted October 2013 in Unemployment Compensation by Andrea C. Farney

An employer can require a worker to have their own transportation for a job, but the worker will not be denied unemployment compensation if she made reasonable efforts to maintain the car and could not afford to repair it.  The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court recently upheld a former worker’s eligibility for unemployment compensation because she couldn’t meet her employer’s requirement to have a car. In Bell Socialization Services v. UCBR, the court said that a worker could receive benefits because her “inability or incapacity to meet [the] employer’s standards is not willful misconduct.”  The case involves a worker who needed to have a car for her job.  She had her own car at the time of hire, but after hire it broke down.  She borrowed her mother’s car but it too became inoperable because of an accident.  The worker made $9/hour and could not afford another car.  Her employer fired her because of it and argued she committed willful misconduct.  The court found her eligible because she couldn’t afford to purchase a car and had made reasonable efforts to do so.  Borrowing money from family to repair her car or buy a new vehicle was not an option. 

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