The Maryland Unemployment Decisions Digest contains summaries of Board of Appeals precedent decisions on those sections of the unemployment insurance law most used by the hearing examiners. Each section of the law contains an introductory portion that cites important court cases as well. In addition, there is a separate section on court cases. Each section has its own Table of Contents, in which the issues which most often arise are set out analytically.
When an individual files for unemployment insurance benefits with the Maryland Department of Labor, determinations of both monetary and nonmonetary eligibility are issued pursuant to the Maryland Annotated Code, Labor and Employment Article, Title 8, Unemployment Insurance. The monetary determination informs the claimant which wages are considered in establishing the claimant’s weekly benefit amount. The nonmonetary determination addresses the claimant’s eligibility for benefits based on a number of factors, most notably the reason for the claimant’s separation from employment and the claimant’s availability for work.
Section 8-503 of the law provides that an individual who files a claim for benefits or an employer entitled to notice of the determination of the claim may file an appeal to the Lower Appeals Division from both monetary and nonmonetary determinations. This first level of appeal is heard by a hearing examiner. Section 8-5A-05 of the unemployment insurance law provides that the Board of Appeals shall hear and decided appeals from decisions of the Lower Appeals Division and claims for benefits referred by the Secretary under Section 8-5A-09 of the law.
Upon receipt of the hearing examiner’s decision, the claimant or the employer has a right to file a further appeal or may petition for further review, to the three-member Board of Appeals. The Board is empowered to review the hearing examiner’s decision on the record, to hold a de novo hearing or to hold an additional hearing. The Board’s written decision is appealable to the Circuit Court, but the Court’s review is limited to the record. The Board and the hearing examiners hear and decide over 30,000 cases each year.
Pursuant to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), Section 09.32.06.05, decisions of the Board of Appeals designated as precedent by the Board constitute legal precedent for the hearing examiner’s decisions. The decisions whose summaries are included in this Digest have been so designated by the Board.
In response to the growing volume of appealed cases and the corresponding number of requests for information about Board precedents, the first Digest of Maryland Unemployment Insurance Decisions was issued in 1985. It was prepared both as a tool to assist the hearing examiners and also as a tool for claimants, employers and their representatives to use in preparing for and in presenting unemployment insurance cases. An update was issued in 1987. After 1987, many changes in the law were enacted, including the recodification of the Unemployment Insurance statute. In 1996, in order to ensure that the Digest remained a viable product, a completely revised Digest was published in partnership with the Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers, Inc. (MICPEL). The passage of time, the statutory separation of the Board of Appeals from the hearing examiners with the creation of the Lower Appeals Division, changes in the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law and new COMAR regulations have necessitated some revisions.
Although the 2020 Digest has been reorganized, the basic format remains the same. The Digest contains summaries of Board of Appeals precedent decisions on those sections of the law most used by the hearing examiners. Each section of the law contains an introductory portion that cites important court cases as well. In addition, there is a separate section on court cases. Each section has its own Table of Contents, in which the issues which most often arise are set out analytically.