Friday, March 22, 2013

UC - limitation of issues/presumption of employment

Connect America v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – March 19, 2013 – unpublished

1. Limitation of issues

Pursuant to 34 Pa. Code §101.87, only an issue properly before the referee shall be ruled on at the hearing before the referee; it states:

When an appeal is taken from a decision of the Department, the Department shall be deemed to have ruled upon all matters and questions pertaining to the claim. In hearing the appeal the tribunal shall consider the issues expressly ruled upon in the decision from which the appeal was filed. However, any issue in the case may, with the approval of the parties, be heard, if the speedy administration of justice, without prejudice to any party, will be substantially served thereby.

Id. (emphasis added). We interpret this provision as requiring that “the evidence adduced and determination made at the referee’s hearing be limited to the legal issue ruled on” by the Department. Anthony v. Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review, 506 A.2d 501, 503 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1986) (quoting Corressel v. Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review, 385 A.2d 615, 616 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1978)).

Here, the Department ruled Claimant was financially eligible for UC benefits. Employer appealed, raising the sole issue that Claimant was not an employee, but rather was an independent contractor. The referee informed the parties that she would receive evidence on that issue, and only that issue. 

2. Presumption of employment-

Employer bears the heavy burden of overcoming the presumption of employment. Kurbatov v. Dep’t of Labor & Indus., 29 A.3d 66 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2011).


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.