A Pennsylvania woman has been denied unemployment benefits after being terminated for overstating her mileage expenses. According to the presiding judge, “The falsification of an employer’s records constitutes willful misconduct.”
Dana Crall was terminated after four years with Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries for overstating her mileage. The employer began to suspect Crall was overstating her mileage reimbursements and used MapQuest to confirm their suspicions.
According to the state court opinion by Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer, Crall worked as a family therapist counselor before being fired in July of 2015. The employer began to question her reimbursements about two months before her termination. As part of their investigation, Diakon started checking her claims about the distances she drove for client visits against Mapquest mileage calculations for those routes. The employer tried to find alternative routes to the most efficient one to give Crall the benefit of the doubt.
But the employer could not duplicate Crall’s mileage claims. “In some instances, (Crall’s) miles exceeded the employer’s calculations by over 100 miles,” Jubelirer wrote in her opinion.
One example sited in court records was a reimbursements submitted for May of 2015. Crall filed for reimbursement of 3,200 miles, compared to Diakon’s Mapquest-based calculation of 1,900 miles. The next month Crall claimed to have driven 3,246 for work, while her employer calculated her actual mileage to be 1,903 miles.
Initially, Crall appealed her claim to the Commonwealth Court after the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review backed her employer’s denial of benefits.
This outcome is a good example of the need for employers to record proper documentation of not only improper employee actions but also their attempt to resolve problems. Such record keeping helps to insure a successful outcome when challenging an unemployment benefits claim.