Tuesday, September 20, 2011

UC - offer of suitable work - notice to UCSC - 43 P.S. §802(a)

Barnett v. UCBR - Cmwlth. Court - September 20, 2011 - unreported memorandum decision


The Employer failed to comply with Section 402(a) of the Law, which states that an employer that offers suitable work to a claimant must notify the UC Service Center “of such offer within seven (7) days after the making thereof.” 43 P.S. §802(a). Claimant does not challenge the finding that Employer’s notice was six days late, i.e., 13 days after it offered Claimant her former job.

This Court has held that strict compliance with the notice provision of Section 402(a) is not required where it would be inconsistent with the objectives of the Law and where the claimant is not prejudiced by the delay. McKeesport Hospital v. UCBR, 619 A.2d 813, 815 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1992). In McKeesport Hospital, notice to the UC Service Center was five days late. This Court held that the notice requirement of Section 402(a) was directory and not mandatory, stating that "we cannot declare claimants to be eligible and grant them benefits merely as a result of rigid application of technical standards where, otherwise, said claimants are clearly ineligible. To do so would be inconsistent with the fundamental purpose and intent of the Act, which is to provide a semblance of economic security to those who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Id. (quoting Barillaro v. UCBR, 387 A.2d 1324, 1328 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1978)).

We explained that Section 402(a) acts as a time bar to an Employer’s recall request only when the delay in notifying the unemployment authorities is so great that it prejudices the claimant. For example, prejudice to a claimant may occur where the claimant receives benefits to which she is not entitled and becomes subject to “no fault recoupment.” Here, Claimant does not claim that she was prejudiced by Employer’s delay; rather, she argues that Section 402(a) demands strict compliance. That is simply not the case, as was established in McKeesport Hospital. Based on this Court’s holding in that case, and the fact that the delay in the present case was only one day longer, we hold that Employer fundamentally complied with Section 402(a)’s notice provision. Claimant, who has neither alleged nor demonstrated she was prejudiced by Employer’s six day delay, may not invoke that notice provision to overcome her ineligibility for benefits.


The opinion, though not reported, may be cited "for its persuasive value, but not as binding precedent." 210 Pa. Code § 67.55. Citing Judicial Opinions.