Friday, December 03, 2010

UC - eligibility - agreement between employer and employee not valid

Pitt Chemical and Sanitary Supply v. UCBR - December 3, 2010

The sole basis for Employer’s appeal is that the employment contract between Claimant and Employer stated: (1) Claimant would be terminated if he did not meet his sales quota; and (2) Claimant’s failure to meet the sales quota would be the legal equivalent of willful misconduct and, therefore, Claimant would not be entitled to unemployment compensation. In other words, Employer contends that the UCBR erred in awarding unemployment compensation benefits because Claimant had waived the right to file for such benefits. We reject this argument summarily.

Section 701 of the Law, 43 P.S. §861, plainly states that: “No agreement by an employe to waive, release, or commute his rights to compensation, or any other rights under this act, shall be valid.” It is the Law that determines a claimant’s eligibility for unemployment compensation, not the employer. See, e.g., Turner v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 381 A.2d 223, 224 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1978) (“It is not for an employee and employer to determine eligibility for benefits by agreement.”) Therefore, the provisions of any contract in which an employee waives his or her right to unemployment compensation is unenforceable.