Pesce v. Board of Review
515 N.E.2d 849 (Ill. Ct. App. 1987).

Facts:

  • Pesce was employed as a driver of a medicar, used to transport patients to and from hospitals and nursing homes.
  • In 3 ½ months there, he was involved in four accidents with the employer’s vehicle. After the fourth he was let go.
  • Each of these accidents occurred while plaintiff was backing up and resulted in plaintiff striking a stationary object with the vehicle.
  • He then filed for unemployment.

History:

  • The claims adjudicator denied the application.
  • The hearing referee issued a decision denying benefits, finding plaintiff ineligible because his actions constituted misconduct.
  • The Board affirmed the denial of benefits.
  • The circuit court reversed.

Issue:
Did Pesce’s four accidents constitute “misconduct connected with work” so as to disqualify him from receiving unemployment benefits?

Holding:
No. Affirmed.

Reasoning:

  • Misconduct has been defined as conduct evincing such willful or wanton disregard of an employer’s interests as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer had the right to expect of his employee, OR in carelessness or negligence of such degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interests or of the employee’s duties and obligations to his employer.
    • Basically, the employee must act deliberate, or its equivalent.
  • In this case, the record shows that the plaintiff had four accidents with stationary objects while backing up in the employer’s vehicle. There is no evidence of deliberate conduct or a willful or wanton disregard of the employer’s interests. Similarly, we do not find that the plaintiff’s conduct can be characterized as carelessness or negligence of such a degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability.