The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, commonly referred to as the UCBR, is the final level of appellate review available under the umbrella of the Office of Unemployment Compensation. It is available to parties that disagree with the decision rendered by the Referee in the prior appeal.
The appeals process begins when a party disputes an initial finding by the Department of Labor regarding whether or not a former employee may collect unemployment benefits. Either party, including the employer or the employee, is able to appeal the finding. The first appeal goes to an Unemployment Compensation Referee. An Unemployment Referee is an individual who acts as a judge to re-examine the evidence of the claim that has been presented. This occurs during a hearing before the Referee, who will render a decision either affirming or reversing the initial finding.
If this decision is unfavorable, either party has the option to make an appeal to the UCBR.
After this second appeal is made, the UCBR may or may not request a second hearing before its panel of referees. If it doesn’t, it will only consider the testimony provided during the initial Referee hearing. If a second hearing is requested, the UCBR will consider both hearings in making its determination. Parties can also file written statements to the UCBR to supplement the record of the prior hearing.
Additionally, the UCBR has the power to remand the case back to the Referee if it determines that the record is unsatisfactory or insufficient. The determination reached by the Board of Review is final, and there are no further opportunities to appeal to the Office of Unemployment Compensation. Any further appeals must be filed through the Commonwealth Court.
Generally, all appeals must be filed within fifteen days of notification. As a result, it is important to remain informed and aware of the appeal process.
It is important to note that individuals can represent themselves, hire an attorney, or bring a third-party representative when going through the unemployment appeals process. Parties should always present themselves in a calm, professional fashion so as to be viewed in the best possible way.