Unemployment Compensation is a complex legal topic which requires an experienced employment law attorney. There are a few common areas of defense to potential liability for unemployment compensation benefits, including:
- Willful misconduct;
- Voluntary resignation;
- Failure of a Claimant to submit to or pass a mandatory drug test pursuant to Employer policy;
- The existence of medical restrictions that render a Claimant unavailable for work; and
- Off-duty misconduct
Unemployment Compensation Procedure in PA
Following the initial claim for benefits, the Employer is put on notice of the application by the Department of Labor. Additionally, at that time, Employers are asked to provide to the Department answers to specific questions about the nature of the Claimant’s discharge from employment. It is important for Employers to recognize that this is the first opportunity to convince the Department of any possible defenses to the payment of benefits. A questionnaire that is unanswered by the Employer will result in an award of benefits to the Claimant, which award may not later be subject to appeal. Once an Employer prepares a response to the questionnaire, the claim is put in line for issuance of a Determination on the merits of the claim.
Once the Determination is issued by the Department, the parties have an opportunity to appeal the Determination and obtain a hearing before a fact finder (“Referee”) where both parties will have the opportunity to present testimony and other evidence in support of their respective positions in the case, in a relatively informal fashion. The aggrieved party following the Referee’s Decision is permitted to file an appeal to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, which is an administrative body charged with making final factual findings and credibility determinations. From there, the matter may proceed to the Commonwealth Court and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, should the parties continue the appeal through the appellate court system.
Employment Compensation Attorney in Lancaster PA
At Devine Law Offices, we have many years of combined experience advising employers prior to the actual employment separation, by guiding our clients in the decision-making process, and establishing a solid foundation upon which an unemployment claim can be defended. By taking a proactive approach to managing claims at the level of initial filing, we believe that we can achieve the best and most cost-effective result. Where a claim is litigated, we represent employers at all levels of the unemployment compensation litigation process, and understand the necessary elements of presenting the strongest possible defense to a claim for benefits. Our comprehensive approach to employment matters also allows us to fully advise our clients of the implications and ramifications of an unemployment compensation claim on other areas of the employer-employee relationship.