Monday, July 12, 2010

What Happens at an Unemployment Hearing in Pennsylvania?

Unemployment Hearing in Malvern, Springfield, Bristol, Philadelphia or Norristown?

John A. Gallagher is a Highly Experienced Employment Lawyer With Offices in Chester County, Delaware County and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Call 610-647-5027, e-mail me directly or send an e-mail inquiry via the "Fill Out My Form" box to the upper right of this page. We will respond promptly with an analysis of your situation, and discuss potential options going forward at no cost to you.

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Pennsylvania Unemployment Lawyer Serving Coatesville, Pottstown, Norristown, East Norriton, Malvern, Paoli, Downingtown, Media, Radnor, Newtown Square and Philadelphia Areas

You will be in a room about 15 x 20.  The Referee will sit at the head of the table.  You will sit on one side (with your lawyer and any witnesses), the employer on the other (with their lawyer and any witnesses).

First, the Referee will explain your rights.  Then he/she will introduce all of the exhibits.  Then testimony will begin. 

If the issue is whether you were fired for willful misconduct, the burden is on the employer, and it will have to prove its case first.  If the case is about your quitting, the burden will be in you to prove that you had a necessitous and compelling reason to quit, so you will go first.

Malvern PA Unemployment Lawyer

Any documents that contain statements from people that are not in the room should be objected to as hearsay.  Any testimony about what someone who is not in the room said, did or heard should be objected to as hearsay.  You will have a right to cross-examine the employer. If you do not have a lawyer, you will be expected to give the testimony you need to, and to cross-examine the company's representative.

Norristown, PA Unemployment Hearing

One thing you may want to consider before the testimony actually starts is seeking sequestration of witnesses.  What is sequestration?  The process of removing witnesses from the room who have not yet testified, so that they will not be able to "parrot" the testimony of other witnesses.  So, if your employer has 3 witnesses, you want to remove any that are not testifying until it is actually their turn to testify.  Simply ask the Referee to sequester the witnesses.  If they ask you why, say "to insure the integrity of the proceeding."  Referee's almost always grant sequestration.  If they refuse, it could be a basis for a new Hearing on appeal.
Springfield PA Unemployment Attorney
The Hearing will be recorded, and you will have a right to appeal if you lose.  However, winning the appeal is hard (you do not get a new Hearing, it is based entirely upon the transcript of the hearing).  Given the importance of unemployment benefits, and the fact that most companies have a lot more experience with unemployment hearings than you do, it is a good idea to hire an experienced unemployment lawyer for Unemployment Hearings in Pennsylvania.

One other thing to bear in mind - Poor Performance is not a basis for denial of unemployment benefits.  Employers know this, and will often cultivate reasons for why the employee was terminated in an effort to convince the Referee that the true reason for the firing was some act of willful misconduct, as opposed to poor performance.  In such "pretext" cases, the skills of an experienced attorney could be worth their weight in....a year of unemployment benefits.

Philadelphia Area Employment Lawyer With Offices in Paoli, Exton, King of Prussia, Plymouth Meeting, Radnor and Philadelphia

Call today if you need guidance on Unemployment Hearings.  To see our list of FAQs on Pennsylvania Unemployment procedures and rules, Click Here.

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