Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why Hire An Attorney for My Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearing?

Employment Attorney Handling Unemployment Hearings Every Week in Malvern, Norristown, Springfield, Reading and Philadelphia

6 Good Reasons to Have an Unemployment Lawyer at Your Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearing

[You may also see my discussion on the things I discuss below on my Video.]

1.  Your ex-employer has been to many hearings and knows how they work; you don't.  They know how to introduce evidence that appears insurmountable, but is in fact unsubstantiated, paper-thin and not able to withstand thorough cross-examination;

2.  You don't know the rules of evidence.  Unemployment hearings often come down to what information the parties can get into evidence.  Since many employers' cases are dependent upon what a person who is not at the hearing allegedly said, heard or wrote, if you can keep that evidence out, you can win the case.  However, keeping this out often involves the rules of Hearsay, which can be rather complicated to the average Joe or Jane;

3.  Unemployment compensation hearings are short and to the point.  You must have a defined strategy, and must eliminate irrelevant facts and arguments.  In telling your "whole story," you will likely step on many land mines that will undermine and perhaps lose your claim.  Emotion is not your friend. Proof of how unfairly you were treated over the years is irrelevant and counterproductive. You need a defined strategy that focuses solely on responding to your employer's proffered reasons for terminating you, or explaining why you had to quit, in order to win an unemployment hearing;

4.  If you do not know the law that controls your situation, you are just shooting in the dark.  Unemployment hearings are not about fairness; they are about whether the law permits you to receive benefits.  Referees tend to be conservative; they will not rule in your favor no matter how "sorry" they feel for you unless the law is in your favor based upon the facts presented at the hearing;

5.  Pennsylvania unemployment hearings are recorded and a transcript from the hearing can be obtained.  Thus, if you think you have been treated illegally (violation of statutes such as Title VII, FMLA, ADA, FLSA or a Pennsylvania wrongful termination claim), you want to "kill two birds with one stone" by using the unemployment hearing process to develop helpful facts before the employer has been "prepared" by the attorney they will hire to defend your subsequent lawsuit.  In a lawsuit, the employer is prepared by counsel to "testify truthfully" (or "artfully," as I have observed! )about why your employment ended - shockingly, this testimony is often to your great disfavor! However, most employers do not bring their lawyers to unemployment hearings (believing they will simply trample you underfoot in the usual way), and are therefore thoroughly unprepared for cross-examination by an employment law litigator. Unemployment hearings can therefore be a real gold mine, a treasure trove of unvarnished testimony, for employment litigators!

6.  You only get one bite at the apple.  Whatever evidence is submitted at the hearing, whatever testimony is offered, will be the only evidence and testimony considered on appeal from the hearing.  An appeal from an unemployment referee's decision is a "paper appeal,"  wherein the Board of Review considers only the evidence (and all of the evidence no matter how inadmissible), introduced at the referee hearing.  Thus, the record created at the hearing is binding, and thus crucial.

7. The Referees decide the case.  Here are some of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Referees in this area:  Referee Green in Malvern; Referee Bunch in Springfield; Referee Gallagher in Norristown; Referee Gunden in Reading; Referee Horowitz in Norristown; Referee Harden in Springfield; Referee Dietrich in Norristown; Referee Rose in Norristown; Referee Deffley in Reading; Referee Ulichney in Malvern; Referee Rothaug in Bristol; Referee Newman in Norristown.  These Referees are all fair-minded (or at least believe themselves to be!), but they all have different approaches.  Some like to ask leading questions of you if you do not have an attorney present; most will let in any evidence the employer presents if you do not object, no matter how irrelevant or inadmissible under the law (most of the Referees will not exclude hearsay unless you object).  Knowing the referees' tendencies can be crucial to winning a case.

Click Here to read our ratings of Philadelphia Area Unemployment Referees.

At the Gallagher Law Group, we represent only employees with workplace rights issues. 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 unemployment claim, and discuss potential options going forward at no cost to you.

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