CAN I FIND OUT WHAT MY FORMER EMPLOYER IS GOING TO SAY BEFORE MY PENNSYLVANIA UNEMPLOYMENT HEARING?
Discovery is the process of learning about the other side's case prior to a Hearing. Typically, there is little opportunity to conduct discovery before an Unemployment Hearing. Here is what you can do: Your file is delivered to the place where your Unemployment Hearing is going to be conducted within a week or so of the Hearing (call ahead before you go to be sure it is there - the number of the Hearing office is on your Notice of Hearing). You may go to the Hearing location at any time, present your Notice of Hearing, and review your file. Although you cannot copy any documents in the file, you may review and take notes of what it contains.
What should you look for? The Employer's Questionnaire, which will include answers provided by your ex-employer to the Service Center that will detail your employer's position on your claim. The file may also include documents that your former employer submitted to the Service Center to "prove" its case.
You may ask the Referee that will preside at your Hearing to issue a subpoena to any witnesses or document that you believe would help your case. In our experience, these requests are rejected more often than not (thus providing a possible avenue of appeal - if the evidence you sought was not made available at your Hearing, and it may have been critical, the Unemployment Board of Review may compel the issuance of the subpoena and grant you an additional Hearing).
Bear in mind, though: subpoenas to your former co-workers are typically not going to be helpful - your former co-worker is still employed, and is likely to be resistant when asked to provide testimony that is against their current employer's interest.
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Thank you for stopping by and hope you found this helpful, John A. Gallagher, Esquire.