• David Manes

If I quit my job for medical problems, how do I win at my Referee hearing?

At this point in your quest for unemployment compensation benefits (“UC Benefits”), you have filed a claim for UC Benefits and are now before a Referee. You are before a Referee because: (1) you were found eligible for benefits and your Employer appealed or (2) you were denied benefits and you have appealed.

When an individual quits his/her job for medical problems and applies for UC Benefits, their case is decided under Section 402(b). When trying to obtain benefits under 402(b) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law (“Law”), you have the burden of proving that you quit your job for “necessitous and compelling reasons.” Therefore, when you go before a Referee, you have the burden of proving to the Referee that you should be found eligible under 402(b) of the Law.

A key question is does a medical problem constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” under 402(b) of the Law? The bigger question is how do you prove to a Referee your medical problem provided a “necessitous and compelling reason” for you to quit?

One of the main reasons an individual quits his/her job is because of medical problems. The good news is that an employee’s medical problems can constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” for quitting where the employee is unable, either physically or emotionally, to continue working. However, in order to prove your medical problems constitute a “necessitous and compelling reason” to quit, you must prove three things to a Referee:

First, you must have tried to preserve your employment by telling your Employer of your medical problems so that the Employer might have provided an accommodation to allow you to keep working. For example, if you have severe migraines or arthritis that affects your ability to perform your job, you must inform your Employer of such.

What type of evidence can you submit to prove you communicated your health problems to your Employer?

You can provide testimonial evidence explaining how and when you informed your Employer of your medical problems. You can also have a witness testify that they heard you inform your Employer of your medical problems.

If you wrote your Employer a letter detailing your medical problems, you should provide that to the Referee as well. Also, if you provided your Employer with a doctor’s note detailing your medical problems, you should definitely provide a copy of such to the Referee. Any of these would prove to the Referee that you communicated your medical problems to your Employer.

Second, once you have informed your Employer of your medical problems, it is their duty to offer you an accommodation to allow you to continue working. Lets say you have migraines that are aggravated by bright light. You can ask your Employer for your office to be put in a place with dim lighting and no windows.

What type of evidence can you submit to prove you asked for an accommodation?

You can provide testimonial evidence explaining how and when you asked your Employer for an accommodation. You can also have a witness testify that they heard you ask your Employer for an accommodation.

If you wrote your Employer a letter asking for an accommodation, you should definitely provide that to the Referee. As always, anything that is documented between you and your Employer will prove to be extremely beneficial. Even if it is an email chain between you and your Employer discussing your medical problems and a request for an accommodation.

Third, your Employer did not provide you with an accommodation and you quit as a result.

What type of evidence can you submit to prove you were not provided an accommodation?

You can provide testimonial evidence explaining how your Employer denied your request for an accommodation. You can also have a witness testify to such.

The best evidence is going to include some sort of documentation. If you received a letter from your Employer denying your request for accommodation, you should definitely provide that to the Referee. Even an email chain between you and your Employer denying your request for an accommodation is extremely useful. Any sort of written documentation that proves you asked for an accommodation and your Employer said NO.

These are just some suggestions on how to prove you quit for a “necessitous and compelling reason” under 402(b) of the Law. It is important to remember that even if you provide all the evidence described above, it doesn’t mean you will be found eligible for benefits under 402(b) of the Law.

#Quitforhealth #NecessitousandCompellingreasons #UCBenefits #MedicalProblems #402b

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