Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Burden of Proof in a Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearing

Burden of Proof - Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefit Hearings - Willful Misconduct

To win a willful misconduct case, your former employer must prove that you did something wrong that could have been avoided.

This may be a single act or set of circumstances (i.e. you stole money, had a physical altercation with a co-worker, refused a direction from your boss, etc.) or that you violated a work rule after having been warned about prior violations of that rule (i.e. repeated lateness, repeated failure to clock-in/out, etc.).

Who Must Carry the Water?
So, in these cases, it is the employer that must submit competent evidence of your wrongdoing. If they do not meet this burden, you will win.

How Do I Object to Hearsay at a Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Hearing? 

What is competent evidence?  Testimony by a witness who actually saw your alleged actions.  This often implicates the rules of Hearsay.  Bear in mind though, that if you do not object to Hearsay evidence, it will be admitted into evidence. If such evidence is admitted into evidence, it will be hard
for you to win the case, since the witness in question will not be there for you to cross examine! 

Hearsay is NOT Competent Evidence
Employers often rely upon Hearsay at Hearings.  If you see or hear Hearsay evidence, you must simply say "Object, Hearsay."  The Referee will then make a ruling.

Of course, the trouble is spotting Hearsay, and doings so quickly and on the spot.  If you do not object to Hearsay immediately, your objection will be deemed "waived," and the evidence may be used against you.

A qualified unemployment lawyer can (or at least should be able to) spot Hearsay instantly, and should be able to exclude that evidence with a timely objection.  If that happens, the employer will be challenged to present competent evidence of your alleged wrongdoing.

Will My Record of Outstanding Past Performance Help Me Win My Willful Misconduct case?

No.  The issue is not what you did over the 20 years of your employment in a willful misconduct case.  rather, it is what you did on the date of the incident that led to your termination that matters.  Click Here for further discussion on this issue. 

Burden of Proof - Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearings - Voluntary Quit Cases

Hard to Get Pennsylvania Unemployment
When You Resign From Your Job
If the issue at your Pennsylvania Unemployment Hearing is whether you had a necessitous and compelling reason to quit your job, the burden is on you to prove that you had a necessitous and compelling reason to quit your job. These are often very difficult cases to win without legal representation; the deck is stacked against you and an intimate understanding of the law on quitting and getting unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania is essential.

Philadelphia Lawyer Discusses the Law of Voluntary Quit in Pennsylvania Unemployment Cases:

In Independent Contractor Cases

The presumption under the law is that all workers are employees (i.e. paid W-2 wages).  The burden is on the employer to prove otherwise, i.e. that you were an independent contractor (paid 1099 wages).

Why is the Burden of Proof Important?

Well, the party who has the burden of proof must prove their case.  If the party cannot do so, the other party automatically wins the case, and does not need to introduce any evidence.  Thus, the party with the burden of proof always testifies first in a hearing, and the other party only needs to put on evidence if their opponent satisfies their burden.

I win many cases by stopping employers from meeting their burden of proof by eliminating hearsay, excluding documents that are not authenticated, etc.  In those situations my client, who was expecting that he/she would have to prove that they did "a good job" or that they were "innocent of the charges," really says little more than that they did their job to the best of their ability and, Whoolah!, we win.

Easy as pie (for an experienced lawyer!).

Gaining Experience since 1991
Philadelphia Area Employment Attorney Representing Employees
John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania. 

John typically represents employees who need an employment lawyer in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Berks County, Lancaster County and Montgomery County.

Pennsylvania Employment Attorney Provides Free Telephone Consultations

If you are looking for an employment lawyer, and live in Malvern, Wayne, King of Prussia, Downingtown, Glenside, Doylestown, Radnor, Newtown Square, Exton, Philadelphia, West Chester, Skippack, Langhorne, Haverford, Nether Providence, Broomall, Drexel Hill, Reading or any of their surrounding towns, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.  I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.

Need an Employment Labor Lawyer Near Philadelphia?

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues

Click Here to e-mail John directly.

Thanks for checking in with us.

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