How to Win Your Unemployment Appeal Hearing if Fired for Willful Misconduct Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law

Willful Misconduct & Unemployment AppealsWrongfully Terminated ? Free Case Evaluation

“How to Win Your Unemployment Appeal Hearing if Fired for Willful Misconduct Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law”

Being terminated for alleged willful misconduct can significantly impact your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, the burden of proof often falls on the employer to demonstrate that the firing was due to willful misconduct. However, as the Claimant, understanding your rights and the legal framework is crucial in challenging such a decision.

With the guidance of a skilled employment law attorney from MKO Employment Law LLC, your journey through an unemployment appeal hearing can be navigated with precision and confidence, especially when facing allegations of willful misconduct under Pennsylvania law. Our approach encompasses a thorough and strategic application of defense techniques, ensuring a well-rounded representation of your case:

  1. Deep Dive into Willful Misconduct Definitions: We begin by thoroughly understanding and explaining what constitutes willful misconduct within the framework of Pennsylvania law, setting the foundation for your defense.
  2. Strategic Evidence Compilation: Our team works diligently to gather and meticulously present evidence that challenges and refutes the employer’s claims of willful misconduct. This process involves collecting crucial documents, communications, and records that support your case.
  3. Analyzing the Nature of the Misconduct: We focus on demonstrating that the alleged misconduct does not meet the legal threshold of being ‘willful’ or does not qualify as misconduct under the law. This includes dissecting the circumstances and intentions behind the actions that led to the termination.
  4. Contextualizing Actions and Decisions: Providing context is key. We help in articulating justifications for the actions that led to your termination, showing that they were not intentional, malicious, or in direct disregard of your employer’s interests.
  5. Highlighting Mitigating Factors: Our strategy also involves arguing any mitigating circumstances that may provide further explanation for your actions. This could include workplace dynamics, previous incidents, or any external factors influencing your decisions.

What Qualifies as Willful Misconduct in Pennsylvania?

Willful misconduct is generally defined as a violation of an employer’s rules, a disregard of the employer’s interests, or negligence showing an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interests or the employee’s duties and obligations.

Common scenarios that may be labeled as willful misconduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Repeated violations of company policy after warnings
  • Gross negligence or reckless behavior in the workplace
  • Intentional disregard of safety protocols
  • Theft or damage to company property
  • Insubordination or unexcused absences

The attorneys at MKO Employment Law LLC understand the complexities of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law and have significant experience in handling unemployment appeals involving allegations of willful misconduct. We are committed to providing realistic, pragmatic advice and are oriented towards finding smart solutions for our clients. If you’ve been terminated for alleged willful misconduct and are facing an unemployment appeal hearing, reach out to us for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available 7 days a week and are ready to advocate on your behalf.

Attorney Email

Email MKO or Call 412-301-2700. No State or Federal Employees & Only Pennsylvania Cases.

Employee Legal Consultations

“How to Win Your Unemployment Compensation Referee Hearing or Appeal Hearing if Fired for Willful Misconduct Under Section 402(e) in Pennsylvania?”

If you have been terminated for alleged willful misconduct, it can be a significant challenge to receive unemployment benefits. However, under Pennsylvania law, not all terminations qualify as willful misconduct. Understanding the nuances of Section 402(e) and effectively presenting your case during an unemployment appeal hearing are crucial in these situations. Here are some tips on how to win your unemployment appeal hearing if you’ve been terminated for supposed willful misconduct.

Understand the Willful Misconduct Standard

Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, specifically Section 402(e), willful misconduct is defined as an act of wanton or willful disregard of the employer’s interests, a deliberate violation of the employer’s rules, a disregard of the standards of behavior which an employer can rightfully expect from an employee, or negligence indicating an intentional disregard of the employer’s interest or the employee’s duties and obligations.

To successfully appeal a termination classified as willful misconduct, it’s important to:

  1. Refute the Willful Misconduct Allegation: Demonstrate that the actions leading to your termination do not meet the legal definition of willful misconduct. This may involve proving that your actions were not intentional, malicious, or in blatant disregard of your employer’s interests.
  2. Gather Evidence: Collect any relevant evidence such as emails, witness statements, employment records, or company policies that support your claim. This evidence should demonstrate either that the misconduct was not as described by the employer or that the actions taken were not in violation of reasonable employer expectations.
  3. Prepare for Testimony: You will be required to testify under oath during the hearing. Prepare to clearly articulate your perspective on the events leading to your termination, focusing on why these actions do not constitute willful misconduct.
  4. Bring Witnesses: If possible, bring witnesses who can corroborate your account of the circumstances or the nature of your work environment. These could be colleagues, supervisors, or anyone else who has relevant information about your case.
  5. Seek Legal Representation: Navigating an unemployment appeal for willful misconduct can be complex. An experienced employment lawyer can provide invaluable assistance. They can help in interpreting the law, preparing your case, representing you at the hearing, and guiding you through the process.
  6. Analyze Employer’s Disciplinary Policies: Review your employer’s disciplinary policies and procedures. Ensure that any actions taken against you were in accordance with these policies. If there were deviations from the standard procedures or if policies were applied inconsistently, this can be a strong point in your appeal.
  7. Highlight Your Employment History: If you have a history of good performance and compliance at your job, make sure to emphasize this during the hearing. A solid employment record can serve as a counter-narrative to allegations of willful misconduct, suggesting that the termination was an isolated incident or possibly unjustified.
  8. Clarify Misunderstandings or Miscommunications: Sometimes, what is perceived as willful misconduct might be the result of a misunderstanding or a lack of clear communication. Provide context or explanations that may clarify the situation, showing that the alleged misconduct was not intentional or malicious.
  9. Demonstrate Remedial Actions: If there were any actions you took to remedy the situation before the termination, such as apologizing, correcting a mistake, or seeking guidance from a supervisor, make sure to present this information. This demonstrates a willingness to maintain your employment and adherence to company standards.
  10. Assess the Proportionality of the Punishment: Argue whether the punishment of termination was disproportionate to the alleged misconduct. If similar cases in the past resulted in less severe consequences, or if the penalty seems unusually harsh for the nature of the accusation, this could be a pivotal point in your appeal.

Fight Back Against Willful Misconduct Claims: Contact MKO for Assistance

In the challenging landscape of unemployment appeals for alleged willful misconduct under Pennsylvania’s Section 402(e), the importance of a detailed, well-prepared approach cannot be overstated. Successfully navigating this terrain requires not just a deep understanding of the legal standards but also a strategic application of a range of defenses, from scrutinizing employer policies to demonstrating the disproportionate nature of the termination.

At MKO Employment Law LLC, we recognize that each case is unique and demands a tailored, comprehensive strategy that encompasses all ten key steps. Our expertise lies in meticulously constructing your defense and ensuring that every aspect of your case is robustly represented.

Facing the prospect of an unemployment appeal can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our team is committed to providing pragmatic, realistic advice and strong, confident representation. We understand the stakes and are ready to fight alongside you, every step of the way. If you’ve been terminated under allegations of willful misconduct, now is the time to act. Protect your rights and take the first step towards securing the benefits you are entitled to. Reach out to MKO Employment Law LLC for a consultation, and let’s embark on the path to a successful appeal together.


“Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve.” 

MKO is a “boutique firm” which means that we focus on a niche area and offer highly specialized services to clients who are looking for the personal touch within our area of expertise: Employment Law. Boutique law firms are not a general practice or one-stop legal shop, and that’s a good thing. You need one good attorney who knows the ins and outs of the area of law that’s relevant to your case. Look for a law firm that primarily practices the area of law that you need. If that’s all they do, chances are, they do it very well. We see each legal dispute as an opportunity to find a fair and equitable resolution without destroying your reputation, resume, job prospects, income, and if avoidable, not subjecting you, your family, friends, and former coworkers to unnecessary, highly invasive, time consuming, stressful, and ultimately public litigation. MKO, “Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve.™” Confidentiality is key, for everyone. Are you a victim? MKO’s employment lawyers are always available for the clients. You can contact us anytime for a case assessment and evaluation. 

Ten Reasons You Want MKO As Your Employment Counsel

1. Focused Employment Law Practice

MKO is a “boutique law firm” which means that we concentrate on this niche area and offer highly focused employment law services to clients who are looking for the personal touch. Boutique law firms are not a one-stop legal shop, and that’s a good thing. While a long roster of diverse legal services may look impressive on paper, it’s fairly pointless in practice. You need one good attorney who knows the ins and outs of the area of law that’s relevant to your case.  Look for a law firm that only practices in the area of law that you need. If that’s all they do, chances are, they do it very well.

2. Technology Driven & Experts in the Cloud

We provide immediate legal consultations, operate a paperless law firm, use advanced cloud storage, digital signatures, electronic forms, and can review your documents using screen share technology instantaneously. MKO is technologically savvy, nimble, flexible, and efficient. 

We are not confined to our office, chained to a desktop computer, or burdened with IT maintenance. Thanks to the smart use of technology we can focus on providing our clients with the best representation possible. By streamlining our practice we can focus on what our clients hire us to do – advocate on their behalf and work diligently toward a desired result.

3. Legal Advice Instantly From The Comfort of Home

MKO can provide superior legal services through adaptive use of new technology and provide the majority of legal assistance while you are comfortably working from your home. It just also happens it's better, easier, and faster for our clients - they really appreciate it. We seamlessly and interactively collaborate with you in a relaxed environment where you have all of your files in your immediate control. We find this is the absolute best way to provide legal advice to our clients on complex legal issues, hands down.

The old style of coming into our office with binders of disjointed and unsearchable paperwork, of which we to organize and figure out on the fly, is incredibly wasteful, time-consuming, inefficient, and not highly productive. Because of our integration with technology, we are ready to work with you on highly intricate matters on a moments notice, no matter where you (or we) are.

4. Discreet When Necessary

While many cases require that we go to court to seek justice, there are a substantial number of disputes that need to be handled discreetly. We see each legal dispute as an opportunity to find a fair and equitable resolution without destroying your reputation, resume, job prospects, income, and if avoidable, not subjecting you, your family, friends, and former coworkers to unnecessary, highly invasive, time consuming, stressful, and ultimately public litigation. MKO, “Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve.™”

Confidentiality is key, for everyone. 

5. Experience, Professional, & Integrity

Through representing and managing thousands of employment situations, rest assured there is help or a path forward for your situation. For example, Partner Christi Wallace has personally represented over 1000 clients and has managed hundreds more for associates that worked for her in just her first 10 years!

6. Highly Responsive Attorneys

We always get the question, "If I choose to have you represent me, will it be difficult for me to get in touch with you?"

Absolutely not, we even make ourselves available to clients beyond our normal business hours! Further, when you call us your attorney answers, not a secretary who puts you on hold for 20 minutes, then tells you that you can leave a voicemail for your attorney. Besides the MKO office phone number, our clients can contact their attorney via mobileSMS & textingbusiness email, and an urgent emergency email. For example, we can often respond to a text message in just a few minutes. Experience a better, faster, and more efficient way to work with an attorney. MKO believes that clients can and should depend on the fact that we’ll respond quickly.

7. Attorneys Available 74+ Hours Per Week

Employment Attorneys are available at least 74 hours per week by phone, email, and text messaging. Don't be fooled by marketing, many law firms are using non-attorney 3rd party answering services and advertising "Phones Answered 24 Hours A Day, 7 Days A Week." We pick up our own phones, respond to our own emails and text messages, and use real attorneys, 74+ hours per week. 

M-F 7am-7pm
Sat/Sun 8am-3pm

8. Practical Advice From Seasoned Professionals

MKO strongly believes that every situation is distinctly unique and therefore we must endeavor to find the right solution for that particular issue. Because we are a boutique employment law firm, we strive to find unique and innovation solutions for our clients in every circumstance. We take action when necessary, put together deals when possible, and work with our clients so we can be creative and find smart solutions instead of needless litigation. We want to protect your interests now and in the future.

9. Contingency Representation

Contingency Legal Representation is where you do not have to pay your lawyer up front. This is fantastic if you are offered this option. Lawyers and litigation costs are incredibly expensive if you pay hourly. With contingency representation, you are not faced with large legal bills and expenses that are daunting and causes slow downs while waiting for a retainer to be replenished. Further, when you're offering to pay anyone up front and hourly, it seems they'll take almost any case - so long as they are getting paid. Funny how that works. Here's how we help:

  • People can afford an attorney. – Without the benefit of contingency, it would be very difficult for a person who was recently separated from their job to afford an employment lawyer.
  • MKO only gets paid if there is a recovery.  – We put our money where our mouth is, if we don't get a recovery, you don't owe legal fees and costs.
  • Contingency representation says something about your case. – Considering MKO only will get paid if there is a recovery, you can assume we like to cases that we believe have merit.
  • Helps people can move on with their lives – Instead of racking up debt to pay for legal help, our contingency representation lets you move on with your life as we deal with the legal stuff. This is exactly what MKO stands for, “Providing you a path forward in your life, career, and recovering the compensation you deserve.™"
10. Keeping Costs Low To Focus On Your Case

Our clients understand that their representation is are far more important than an expensive address. Some law firms might be battling an extremely burdensome and large cost overhead. In other words, to survive, they may need to be a "factory firm" or "volume practice" that needs to process a vast amount of cases to be able to afford their superfluous costs, expenses, and overheadWe aggressively keep costs down so we can focus on you.

Don't want to be treated like an account number, a settlement figure, or a wheel that needs to be turned to keep the law firm getting paid? We keep our costs low and use this financial freedom for our clients best interests.

Legal Consultations

Hours Open Every Week


Clients & Cases Managed

I trusted Mr. Kraemer with a rather difficult period of time for my family, and we came out on top. He is trustworthy and honest, incredibly helpful, and understanding. Five stars aren’t enough! Him and his staff are well experienced, and won’t let up until the truth is known and justice is served. Michael, it’s been a pleasure. I hope I never need your services again! If I do, I will not hesitate to give you a call.

Bob B.


Halfway to wrongful termination help. If you don't get paid, neither do we. All you need to do is call MKO!

Employment Law Ready✔ ™

Michael Kraemer was the only lawyer who took my case and would be the only lawyer I’d rely on. He kept me informed and was very intellectual on the whole subject that my case was revolved around. I give Mr. Kraemer a 10 out of 10 and I would refer him and his associates to anyone who wants a well defined lawyer.

Andrew L.

Wrongful Termination

We help people fired, or soon to be fired, when they have been treated unfairly, illegally, or unjustly.

Employment Discrimination

Race, religion, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), orientation, disability.

Professional Exit Strategies

Remove yourself from a toxic workplace or help with a job loss. Lawyers give you an exit strategy.

Medical Accommodations

Employees needing physical or mental health/wellness accommodations are protected.

Disability Discrimination

Many health conditions can be considered disabilities and are  legally protected including retaliation.  

EEOC or PHRC Agencies

Aggressive lawyering in the state and federal agencies can mean quick, quiet, and lucrative resolutions.

Age Discrimination

For those over 40 years old (but older is preferred) that experience bias based on your age.

Sexual Harassment

A range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or sexual assault. A highly serious offense.

THIS BELOW IS FOR Google Analytics 3 (older) THIS BELOW IS FOR Google Analytics 4