How To Challenge Notice of Determination Denying Unemployment Benefits For Willful Misconduct

If you were terminated from your employment in Pennsylvania and applied for unemployment benefits, your employer is then contacted by the Unemployment Compensation Board and asked to submit supporting evidence regarding the reason for your termination.

Employers will frequently establish the reasons for the termination and the Board of Review will determine if the employee is eligible for UC benefits. After you apply for benefits, you will receive a Notice of Determination stating whether or not your eligible for unemployment.

If your unemployment benefits are denied in PA, it’s most likely due to Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law. Section 402(e) deals with work-related misconduct. What usually occurs is an employee violates an employer’s rule or conduct that an employer expects from their employees. This can range from absenteeism, to insubordination, to not following the employer’s policies or guidelines when performing job duties.

Section 402(e) is the section related to “willful misconduct.” Willful misconduct is not specifically defined, but courts have interpreted it to mean “an act of wanton or willful disregard of the employer’s interests, a deliberate violation of the employer’s rules, a disregard of the standards of behavior which the employer has a right to expect of an employee, or negligence indicating an intentional disregard of the employer’s interests or of the employee’s duties and obligations to the employer.” Brady v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 115 Pa. Commw. 221, 539 A.2d 936 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1988).

If your unemployment benefits were denied because of 402(e), you will have an opportunity to argue that the employer has not met their burden of establishing the existence of a rule or a violation of the rule.  You could also argue that the employer has not met their burden of establishing that the violation was done willfully, knowingly, intentionally, or negligently. Furthermore, even if you do admit to knowingly violating the rule, you could even argue that you had good cause to violate the rule depending on your reasons for the violation.

In order to establish these defenses, the experience of an attorney is vital to develop the record for these defenses so you can win your unemployment appeal. If you received a Notice of Determination denying your PA UC benefits, you have just 15 days to appeal so you must act quickly. If you would like to be represented during your appeal or are interested in a consultation, call (484) 362-9286.

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