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  • Writer's pictureKirstin Kennedy

Here's What You Can Expect at a Referee Hearing for an Unemployment Appeal

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

An unsatisfactory finding of an initial unemployment claim is not, necessarily, the end of a case for an individual who has applied for benefits.

Pennsylvania residents seeking unemployment payments and businesses defending unemployment requests alike have the option to appeal an initial finding of an unemployment claim. This often results in a hearing before an Unemployment Referee, an individual who acts as a judge and re-examines the evidence of the claim presented through the appeal. The UC Referee will then decide whether to affirm or reverse the determination of eligibility reached in the initial claim.

After an appeal is filed, the UC Referee will provide the parties with a case number and a Notice of Hearing document which will explain the time, date, and location of the hearing. The discussion that will take place during the hearing is restricted to the details of the case and the evidence to be presented in the appeal. Each party, whether the individual claimant or the employer, will be given the opportunity to present evidence related to the case, as well as testimony regarding the specific details of the issues at hand.

Because of this, parties must take care in preparing for the hearing so that their full case can be presented to the UC Referee.

Preparation may involve collecting documents which are relevant to the case that the individual wishes to state at the hearing. Additionally, a valuable element of evidence can be the use of witnesses, which are permitted during the hearing. Parties should request that witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the details of the case attend the hearing and provide testimony. A valuable witness who refuses to attend the hearing can be compelled to participate through the use of a subpoena. In order to obtain a subpoena from the Referee, a party must first request that the Unemployment Office issue such a document. It is also the responsibility of the issuing party to serve the subpoena to the individual witness.

Should members and witnesses of either party require accommodations, it is important to contact the Unemployment Office prior to the hearing date.

At the commencement of the hearing, both parties should expect to be asked direct questions from the UC Referee. At some point during the hearing, the opposing party may ask questions. Similarly, the individual may be permitted to ask questions of the opposing party regarding evidence and testimony entered into the record. It is important to note that the hearing will be recorded, and the parties will be required to make their testimony under oath.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the UC Referee will close the record and begin to consider the evidence. It is not likely that the UC Referee will issue an immediate determination. Instead, the decision will be documented and mailed to the parties.

Should either party need to delay the hearing, notice must be provided to the Unemployment office as soon as possible. Continuances of hearings are typically only granted where there is proper cause for such delay.


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