Liang v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 021820 PACCA, 753 C.D. 2019

Docket Nº:753 C.D. 2019
Opinion Judge:PATRICIA A. MCCULLOUGH, JUDGE
Party Name:Tianjiu Liang, Petitioner v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Respondent
Judge Panel:BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, JUDGE HONORABLE PATRICIA A. MCCULLOUGH, JUDGE HONORABLE ELLEN CEISLER, JUDGE
Case Date:February 18, 2020
Court:Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Tianjiu Liang, Petitioner

v.

Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Respondent

No. 753 C.D. 2019

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

February 18, 2020

OPINION NOT REPORTED

Submitted: October 25, 2019

BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, JUDGE HONORABLE PATRICIA A. MCCULLOUGH, JUDGE HONORABLE ELLEN CEISLER, JUDGE

MEMORANDUM OPINION

PATRICIA A. MCCULLOUGH, JUDGE

Tianjiu Liang (Claimant) petitions, pro se, for review of the May 24, 2019 order of the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Board of Review (Board) which affirmed the referee's dismissal of his appeal as untimely under section 501(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).[1] Upon review, we affirm.

Claimant was employed by the Five Star Chinese Restaurant Corporation (Employer), full time, until October 18, 2018. (Certified Record (C.R.) at Item No. 6.) Claimant applied for benefits the same day he was terminated, alleging a lack of work as the reason for his termination. (C.R. at Item Nos. 2, 3.) The notice of determination mailed on March 1, 2019, stated that Claimant voluntarily quit his job because of unknown reasons, and there was insufficient information provided to determine whether he had a necessitous and compelling reason for voluntarily leaving his job. (C.R. at Item No. 6, Finding of Fact (F.F.) No. 1.) Therefore, Claimant was found to be ineligible for benefits under Section 402(b) of the Law, 43 P.S. § 802(b).2 (F.F. No. 1.) The notice of determination clearly stated that "[t]he last day to appeal this determination is: March 18, 2019." (C.R. at Item No. 6, F.F. No. 4) (emphasis in original). Moreover, the determination explained that under "Section 501(e) of the [Law], this determination becomes final unless an appeal is timely filed." (C.R. at Item No. 6.) The determination was mailed to Claimant's address on file and was not returned as undeliverable. (F.F. No. 3.) Claimant filed his appeal on March 20, 2019, two days after the required deadline. (C.R. at Item No. 7, F.F. No. 5.)

A hearing was set for April 16, 2019, to determine whether Claimant filed a timely appeal from the initial determination under section 501(e) of the Law. (C.R. at Item No. 9.) The hearing notice explained that if an interpreter was needed for a language other than English, to contact the referee's office and an interpreter would be provided. Id. Claimant was assigned a Cantonese interpreter to assist him at the hearing. Id. Claimant testified at the hearing. (C.R. at Item No. 10.)

At the hearing, Claimant explained that he cannot understand English, but that his two nephews understand English and are able to help him. Id. He explained that if he got mail in English he would need his nephew to help him translate it. Id. When asked why he did not file his appeal on or before March 18, 2019, Claimant explained that he (1) did not understand English, and (2) had a problem getting into his mailbox because he misplaced his key. Id; (F.F. No. 6.) After finding his key, he took the notice of determination to someone who understood English to help him translate its contents. (C.R. at Item No. 10, F.F. No. 7.) Claimant also testified that he was not terminated because of a disagreement between him, Employer, and other co-workers, but that he was let go because business was bad. Id.

The referee's decision/order was mailed on April 18, 2019. (C.R. at Item No. 11.) The referee made the following findings: 1. On [March 1, 2019], the Erie UC Service Center issued a Notice of Determination denying [Claimant] benefits under Section 402(b)[][, of the Law].

2. The Service Center also issued a Notice of Overpayment Determination under Section 804(a).

3. Both Determinations were mailed to [Claimant's] address on file at that time and were not returned by the Post Office as undeliverable.

4. Both Determinations informed [Claimant] that, if he disagreed with the Determinations he had the right to file an appeal, and the last day to file a timely appeal was [March 18, 2019].

5. [Claimant] filed an appeal on [March 20, 2019] via fax.

6. [Claimant] did not file an appeal prior to [March 20, 2019] because he did not...

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