People Who Are Mad at Other People Sometimes Try to Hurt Them
In many, many unemployment hearings that I attend in Pennsylvania, the employer has little financial interest in the outcome in the case (claims against smaller employers are paid exclusively by the unemployment compensation fund; however, there is a tax paid into the fund that increases every time an employee is successful in obtaining benefits, so there is some financial motivation to fight a claim). Yet, these are typically among the most hotly contested cases I handle.
The employer is mad at the employee.
Many reasons such as 1) the employee quit the job; 2) the employer believes the employee engaged in willful misconduct that led to termination; 3) the employer did not like the employee, and that is why the relationship ended; or, 4) the employee has the nerve to question the employer's wisdom by seeking unemployment benefits.
Why is this important to know?
Human nature is such that people who are angry and have an axe to grind will do whatever they can to hurt their enemy. It is shocking to say, but that means that sometimes angry employers will lie at Unemployment Hearings.
So? Can't I prove they are lying?
Not very easily - unless you have mastered the rules of evidence (and particularly those relating to hearsay) and fully understand what facts/lies are important. And, it is important to bear in mind that, while this is probably your first or second unemployment hearing, your former employer has probably been to many before.
Won't the Unemployment Referee help me?
Don't count on it. I appear in front of many of these Referees, and I cannot say much about some of the things that I have seen them do (right in front of me). Many of them are fabulous, some are not. But very few of them protect an unrepresented Claimant at a hearing. That's what attorneys are for.
OK, then I will appeal what the Referee decides and prove they lied.
Not so fast. On appeals from a Referee's decision in Pennsylvania, the only things the Review Board considers is what was said and introduced into evidence at the Hearing. Even it it was all lies, and you can prove it, the Review Board will not consider ANY new evidence (except in the very rarest of circumstances).
Angry people lie, unrepresented people get hammered by the system sometimes, unemployment benefits are very important. Therefore, even if you are not going to hire an attorney to represent you at your Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearing, you should read up on hearing procedure and unemployment law as much as possible before you go into the Hearing. While learning the Rules of Evidence is an impossible task, try and learn as much as you can about the hearsay before you go in there.
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Very best of luck, and thanks for reading! John A. Gallagher, Unemployment Lawyer in Pennsylvania.