I Think I May be Fired

Under Pennsylvania law, a worker who is fired is presumed eligible for unemployment benefits

First, employers and the government use various terms for the same thing:  your employer choosing to end your employment for a reason other than a lack of work or business closure.  This includes, for example:

  • Fired
  • Discharged
  • Terminated
  • Let go (when not due to lack of work or funding)

Second, presumed eligible means that in order for the government to deny you benefits, your employer must prove you were fired because of work-related willful misconduct.

This means that an employer must prove that you were fired for misconduct that was: 

  • Intentional
  • Related to your job
  • Recent in time

Most often, an employer will try to establish that you intentionally violated a known rule or policy of the workplace.

Your employer has to prove your misconduct

Be aware that even if your employer does not show up, the statements you made to your employer about your conduct, statements you have made to the UC Service Center (through an application or interview), and statements made to a UC Referee can all be used to establish that you committed willful misconduct

It is best to only give short answers if you were fired and attend a UC hearing without your employer present.

What if I had a good reason for my actions?

Even if an employer proves you were fired for willful misconduct, you have the opportunity to prove you had good cause for your actions.  If the government finds you had good cause for your actions — for example, you were consistently late to work because of unreliable public transportation — then you should still be eligible for benefits.

Poor work performance or mistakes at your job should not disqualify you from benefits

It may be important to have evidence you can use to rebut the employer’s argument or to prove you had good cause for your actions.