In the state of Pennsylvania -- as with most states -- unemployment compensation is provided to workers who are separated from their employer through no fault of their own (typically through a layoff or a termination). According to the State of Pennsylvania's website, "any unemployed person may file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits." However, there is a distinction between filing and being eligible. There are several reasons to be denied benefits in Pennsylvania.
You may be denied unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania if you do not meet the requirements for sufficient wages or covered employment. Typically, you are mailed a "Notice of Determination" which lists your employers and wages for the base year.Your base year is defined as the 4 to 5 months in a calendar preceding your original date of claim. Pennsylvania law states that you must have a minimum of 16 credit weeks within a base year to be eligible for benefits. A credit week is any week from Sunday to Saturday in which you were paid at least $50.
Under section 402b of Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry's laws, a claimant is automatically ineligible for benefits for any week claimed in which she voluntarily left work without sufficient cause. However, the terminated employee may be able to prove justifiable cause. Justifiable reasons may include health reasons (in which the employer failed to accommodate the worker's injury or illness), loss of transportation, personal reasons (both transportation and personal reasons require the worker to provide substantial evidence) or due to unsuitable work (drastic changes in job duties or the environment that affect the worker's health and ability to do the job). Also, according to the department's website, workers may quit their job to attend training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program if their work is considered unsuitable under provisions of the Trade Act of 1974.
Under section 402e of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, an employee who is separated from an employer because of willful misconduct will also be denied benefits. Pennsylvania law defines willful misconduct as "an act of wanton or willful disregard of the employer's interests, the deliberate violation of rules and the disregard of standards of behavior which an employer can rightfully expect from an employee..." Some examples of willful misconduct are absenteeism and lateness (particularly where warnings have been given), theft, deliberate rule and policy violations, vandalism on the job and failure to pass drug and alcohol testing.