Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Did I Quit or Was I Fired? Pennsylvania Unemployment Attorney on Termination Versus Quit Issues at Unemployment Referee Hearings

Was it a Quit or a Fire?  Did I Quit or Was I Fired? Did I Resign or Was I Discharged?  

These are common questions at Unemployment Hearings.  Since "Quit" cases are far easier for a company to win (i.e. convince the Referee to deny a claim for unemployment benefits), employers always prefer a quit case to a termination case.

That is the main reason employers commonly ask employees to resign in lieu or termination.
Is That What You Wanted to Do?
Or Were You Forced to Do So?

Should I Resign Instead of Being Fired?

Unless you are being offered a truly awesome severance package, I can think of little reason to quit a job.

All personnel files are private, so no future potential employer can ever see what happened at the end of your job.  And, companies give out very little information concerning their former employees (name, dates of employment, rate of pay), and rarely will disclose if you were fired as opposed to having resigned.

As far as future employers go, no one likes a quitter, so it is foolish to think that saying you resigned from your old job is always going to be helpful.

Besides, the next interview question will be "Why (did you quit)?"  If you tell the truth and answer, "Oh, because they were going to fire me," what have your really gained?

You May Want to Take a Look at John's Recent Video Explaining the Most Common Scenarios Under Which Someone Who Resigns From a Job is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Pennsylvania

It is Very Hard to Get Unemployment Benefits if you Quit a Job

If you quit your job, you have the burden of proving at the Referee Hearing that you had a necessitous and compelling reason to quit your job.  That means you have to go first at the Hearing, and present your case. Doing so means introducing the right evidence, and, often, cross-examining employer witnesses.

Being told that you will be fired if you do not quit is not a necessitous and compelling reason.  Under those circumstances, you should let them fire you.  Furthermore, the employer will almost always deny that it was going to fire you, knowing that in doing so your fate is all but sealed.

Chicken or the Egg - 402(e) Versus 402(b)

Rule 402(e) applies to Pennsylvania quit cases.  Rule applies to termination cases (i.e. willful misconduct cases).  Remember, employers will almost always argue that you quit.

If You Are Given a Choice - Let Them Fire You
If there is a dispute about whether you quit or were fired, and the referee concludes that you in fact were
terminated, that does not mean you win the case.  Rather, in such instances, the Referee will then take evidence as to the reasons behind your termination, i.e. did you engage in willful misconduct.

The employer has the burden of proving willful misconduct, so in that part of the case it will be obligated to present its evidence through documentation and witnesses.

Cases involving the quit versus fired issue as a threshold matter are very complex.  Who goes first? Who has the burden to prove what?  What type of evidence is needed.  Our Voluntary Quit Video discusses some of these topics:

However, the thing to bear in mind is this:  unless you proved that you were fired, i.e. that you did not quit, you will lose the case even if the reason you were fired was not willful misconduct. So, it is really important to consider hiring an attorney where there exists a fundamental issue as to whether you quit versus being fired.

If you prove that you were fired, rather than quit, then you need to understand the law of Willful Misconduct."  Here is our Video discussing Willful Misconduct under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law:

Philadelphia Unemployment Lawyer

John A. Gallagher, Esquire -
 Has Handles Hundreds of Unemployment Referee Hearings

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.

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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

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