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  1. #1
    Nokerman is offline Junior Member
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    Denied Pennsylvania Unemployment

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Pennsylvania

    I was denied Pennsylvania unemployment compensation benefits for failure to prove that I quit work for a necessitous and compelling reason. I was naive and chose to file a 1st appeal without the advice of legal counsel. My 1st appeal was denied by the referee hearing the appeal. I now have the option of securing an attorney and filing a 2nd appeal, but I've been told that a 2nd appeal could not bring in new evidence, but could only question if the law was applied properly based on the prior evidence presented.

    Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of the PA unemployment compensation appeal process? Would additional evidence be admissible? Is the 2nd appeal usually a waste of time and money? I feel like an idiot for not obtaining legal advice prior to filing my first appeal, but the relaxed, non-formal atmosphere of the appeal process misled me to believe that the referee would base his ruling on common sense and I would not require legal expertise to successfully navigate the process to a positive conclusion.
  2. #2
    Beth3 is offline Senior Member
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    The UC system is set up so nobody needs an attorney. Even if you had one, he or she has no means to bend the law to make quitting to take care of an ill pet (for example) a "necessitous and compelling reason" under UC statutes.

    Would additional evidence be admissible? No. Appealing the decision made following the hearing is an administrative appeal only. In other words, the State will review the testimony and evidence provided at the hearing and determine if an appropriate decision was made under the relevant statutes.

    Is the 2nd appeal usually a waste of time and money? This will cost you nothing in money and time other than the cost of the postage to send a letter requesting the appeal. Overturning a decision made following a hearing can happen but it's pretty rare. The hearing adjudicators know what they're doing.

    If you'd care to share the reason why you resigned, it would be a lot easier to tell you whether it's worth the stamp to appeal the decision.

    the relaxed, non-formal atmosphere of the appeal process misled me to believe that the referee would base his ruling on common sense Judges - evening UC hearing adjudicators - make rulings based on the law, not common sense. You may have had a very compelling personal reason to quit your job but it appears it wasn't for a reason that UC statutes would allow you to collect benefits or that your former employer should pay for those.
    A person, who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
  3. #3
    Nokerman is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for your response. Here are the circumstances around my termination.

    Due to issues with my job performance, in September I was placed on a 90-day warning by my employer. A laundry list of issues was presented to me that I needed to address. Over the next 90-days I made every effort to address and correct the performance issues identified. Unfortunately my efforts were met with indifference by my employer. As a result, at the end of the 90-day warning period, HR met with me to inform me that my performance was not meeting expectations and that I needed to determine which of the following 2 options I was going to accept:

    Option 1 - Enter into a probationary work period where I must show immediate and sustained improvement in work performance or face immediate termination.
    Option 2 - Accept a severance package and voluntarily leave work.

    As I had made every effort to address the issues presented to me during the 90-day warning period, I felt that there was little or no chance of me escaping termination during the probationary period, regardless of how diligently I worked. I’ve worked in the corporate world long enough to recognize when the writing is on the wall.

    My foremost concern regarding which option to accept was that termination (Option 1) would leave me with only PA unemployment benefits which amounted to less than half of my normal salary. Accepting a severance would provide me with 100% of my normal salary for 17 weeks plus job search assistance.

    Therefore I choose Option 2 (Severance). Because PA Unemployment Compensation law states that the claimant must have “left employment for a necessitous and compelling reason”, I thought my circumstances met that criteria and I would be awarded unemployment benefits. Unfortunately in the eyes of UC they did not.
  4. #4
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You're not going to get unemployment for that. Sorry.
  5. #5
    pattytx is offline Senior Member
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    I (again) agree with ecmst12. I don't see anything changing with another appeal.
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  6. #6
    Beth3 is offline Senior Member
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    Therefore I choose Option 2 (Severance). Because PA Unemployment Compensation law states that the claimant must have “left employment for a necessitous and compelling reason”, I thought my circumstances met that criteria and I would be awarded unemployment benefits. Unfortunately in the eyes of UC they did not.

    That doesn't meet the criteria to quit and still collect UC benefits. You did have the option to remain employed and continue to address work performance issues. The fact that the severance and job assistance that would be provided if you resigned was a better deal than collecting UC benefits if you were fired at a future date doesn't matter.
    A person, who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
  7. #7
    Nokerman is offline Junior Member
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    I very much appreciate everyone’s comments and I agree that any further appeal would be pointless.

    While I now better understand UC’s criteria for determining if a claimant who voluntarily quits work is eligible to collect unemployment benefits, I disagree with their assertion that making a choice based upon being financially responsible does not qualify as a “necessitous and compelling” reason. This type of caviler thinking is what set the stage for the existing world financial crisis.

    While researching this issue I found a 2007 appeal that contained the following definition of “necessitous and compelling” which I found interesting:

    Cause of a necessitous and compelling nature has been defined as circumstances that produce real and substantial pressure to terminate one’s employment and that would compel a reasonable person to do the same.

    I am constantly bombarded with messages on television, radio, web, email, etc. that tell me that I should be fiscally responsible by eliminating my debt, living within my means, protecting my credit worthiness, paying my bills on time, planning for retirement, etc. A whole industry has developed around measuring people’s level of fiscal responsibility (Ex., credit bureaus, identity protection services). My point is that society places a high importance on being financially responsible, and to deny unemployment benefits because I made a choice that was fiscally responsible seems ludicrous to me, especially in light of the current economic environment. I believe that under the circumstances I not only acted in a responsible manner, but a reasonable one as well.

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