By The Pennsylvania Record | Apr 16, 2018

There's an old joke about a traveling salesman driving across New England who stops to ask a local farmer for directions to his next destination. The ruminating rustic makes several earnest, detailed attempts to communicate the right route, only to conclude halfway through each recitation that the directions he's providing won't work. 

Finally, he gives up, confiding, “You can't get there from here.”

How would his boss have responded if that salesman had actually followed each set of bad directions and then tried to have the company reimburse him for the excess mileage?

The boss probably would have responded the same way supervisors at Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries did when one of their employees made a habit of going the long way round and trying to cash in on it.

After four years on the job, counselor Dana Crall was terminated for allegedly falsifying her mileage reimbursement requests. She was subsequently denied unemployment benefits, too, when the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a decision by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review.

On her unemployment compensation application, Crall denied falsifying her reimbursement forms, but the court noted that the Altoona UC Service Center “found that claimant was ineligible for benefits… concluding that employer met its burden of proving that claimant’s actions in falsifying her mileage traveled constituted willful misconduct and that claimant did not show good cause for her actions.” 

In her appeal of the board's decision, Crall objected to her former employer's use of MapQuest data as a standard by which to judge the accuracy of her mileage claims, but the board pointed out that Diakon Lutheran’s mileage reimbursement policy allows employees to calculate their mileage based on odometer readings or MapQuest mileage information, and that “the claimant was or should have been aware of the employer’s policy.” 

Moreover, “the employer also tried different routes to try to make sense of the claimant’s numbers.” No matter which routes they took, however, their figures for mileage were always lower than Crall's. 

In other words, they just couldn't get there from here.

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