Suing the Unemployment Compensation Board

One listener is so frustrated by the Unemployment Compensation Board, he wants to sue them.  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Back when COVID started, Gary, a Pennsylvania listener, took two months off of work on his doctor’s recommendation.  He was unaware at the time that he could have been eligible for unemployment, but when he learned he might be eligible, he tried filing, calling, and emailing the Unemployment Compensation Board, but no one ever responded, until they finally got back to him—to say it was too late and he’d missed his window.  He is so frustrated he wants to sue.

The problem is a legal principle known as sovereign immunity, which says that, but for a few exceptions, you can’t sue state agencies.  And there are no laws that say that officials have to respond to the public’s inquiries.  So I’m sorry to say that Gary can’t sue.  His best option is to file an appeal—and lobby elected officials to be more responsive to the people they’re supposed to be helping.

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