How an Unemployment Insurance appeal hearing sounds TIPS to WIN
How to Win an Unemployment Hearing
If you lost your job and your initial claim for unemployment benefits was denied, you have the right to appeal that initial denial and argue your case at an unemployment hearing. While state procedures differ, this hearing typically is conducted before an administrative law judge, who will hear from both you and your former employer and make a decision regarding your eligibility for benefits.To win an unemployment hearing, you must convince the judge that you are entitled to unemployment benefits according to the law in your state.
Filing Your Appeal
Read your determination notice.If your unemployment benefits claim is denied, you will receive written notice of the denial.
- The notice will include the reason or reasons your claim was denied, as well as information on how long you have to appeal that determination and the process for doing so.
- Take note of the deadline for filing an appeal, and don't delay in requesting one. Depending on the state in which you filed your claim, you may have anywhere from 10 to 30 days from the date on your determination notice.
Request a hearing.An appeal request form may have been included with your notice, or you can simply write a letter to the address listed on the notice.
- If your notice doesn't include a form, type or write legibly a letter indicating that you want to appeal the determination. It doesn't need to be lengthy – you can simply write "I want a hearing to appeal the denial of my claim for unemployment benefits." Include your name, address, and phone number, as well as your Social Security number or any other account or file number listed on your determination notice.
- Sign and date your letter, and make at least one copy of it for your records before you mail it. Your determination notice may list a specific address to use to request an appeal; otherwise, you typically can use the address from which the determination notice was sent.
Receive confirmation of your appeals hearing.After your appeal request is processed, you typically will receive written confirmation and a scheduled date and time for your hearing.
- If you know you won't be able to attend the hearing on the date scheduled, send a written request for the hearing to be postponed. You should make this request as soon as possible – there typically is a deadline after which you cannot request the hearing be rescheduled unless there is an emergency.
Consider hiring an attorney.An experienced employment lawyer can help guide you through the appeals process.
- The laws and administrative regulations that govern unemployment benefits can be extremely complex and confusing. An attorney who specializes in this area of law may be your greatest asset, particularly if the circumstances surrounding your termination are in dispute.
- Keep in mind that your former employer most likely has a lawyer – if not a whole team of lawyers – working on its side to prove you're not eligible for benefits.
- Attorneys who represent workers at unemployment hearings understand that their clients have just lost their jobs and may be under tremendous financial stress. Many of these attorneys have sliding-fee scales based on your ability to pay.
- You also may be eligible for free or reduced-fee services from your local legal aid office, or from law school clinics. A nationwide directory of free legal aid services is available at .
Continue filing a claim for benefits.Don't stop filing a claim each week just because you were denied, even though you probably will continue to receive denials.
- If you win your appeal, your back benefits will only cover the weeks in which you were otherwise eligible and filed a claim for benefits.
Preparing for Your Hearing
Learn how the law applies to your case.You must find legal justification for your argument that the state was incorrect in denying you unemployment benefits.
- Keep in mind that whether you quit or were fired typically determines who has the burden of proving your eligibility (or ineligibility) for benefits.This hinges on who has control of the primary information – if you quit, you're the one who best knows your reasons for quitting; similarly, if your boss fired you, he or she is the one with the information.
- Generally, you are eligible for unemployment benefits if you lost your job through no fault of your own. In some cases this means you may be eligible for unemployment benefits even if you quit your job. However, if you quit you must show that you would have suffered some sort of harm or injury if you had stayed.
- The judge will look at the reasons you quit using what the law calls a "reasonable person" standard. Essentially, you're entitled to unemployment benefits if any reasonable person standing in your shoes would have made the same decision.
- Reasonable causes for quitting may include harassment or discrimination, a substantial reduction in hours, or working conditions that are so unsafe or unsanitary that they present an immediate risk to your health. Your state's statute or regulations may include specific reasons that are recognized as reasonable causes.
- If you were fired, you're not entitled to unemployment benefits if your employer fired you for good cause.Typically, this means you were fired because of some misconduct on your part. However, even if you violated a written policy of your employer, you may still be able to convince the judge you're entitled to benefits if you can prove that you violated the policy for a good reason.
- Written policies are key for your former employer – he or she must be able to show the judge that you knew about the rule and broke it anyway. If the rules weren't presented to you in writing before the events took place that led to your termination, your former employer can't prove to the judge that you had any knowledge of the rule or that what you were doing was wrong and could lead to termination.
- You also may be eligible for unemployment benefits even if you were terminated for good cause, if the judge decides that your conduct was so minor it didn't rise to the level of termination, or if it was an unintentional mistake on your part.
Gather supporting documents.You can use any documents you have, such as performance reviews or emails from your boss, to back up your argument.
- Your employee handbook also may support the fact that you are eligible for benefits.For example, suppose you were fired for not showing up to work on time. If the employee handbook states all employees must receive two warning notices before they are terminated for tardiness, and you only received one notice, both the warning notice you received and the employee handbook would be evidence supporting your eligibility, because they would show that your employer didn't follow its own policy in terminating your employment.
Submit your evidence.In some states, you must send whatever documents you plan to introduce in the hearing to the judge and your former employer before the hearing date.
- If you aren't required to submit your evidence, make sure you have at least two copies of any documents you plan to reference in the hearing – one for your former employer and one for the judge.
- Typically if your hearing will be conducted over the telephone, you must send in any documents you plan to reference so everyone will have the documents to look at while you talk about them. Your former employer must submit any documents it plans to use as well.
Outline your argument.Write detailed notes to reference at the hearing so you can keep your statements organized.
- Creating an outline will allow you to stay focused during the hearing and make sure you tell the judge everything he or she needs to know. Keep in mind that although you can appeal the judge's decision if he denies your claim, you probably won't be allowed to introduce new facts or evidence in that second appeal.
- If you quit, think about all your reasons for doing so, and how they fit into the law. If your reasons for quitting fall within one of the exceptions to the general rule that employees who quit work voluntarily are not eligible for unemployment reasons, think about how you can prove those reasons. Generally you need more than just your word.Organize your evidence according to the points of your argument that it supports.
- You also might consider practicing your speech to the judge in front of friends or family members.They can tell you if something doesn't make sense or if one of your points is confusing.
Talk to your former co-workers.Former co-workers with first-hand knowledge of the circumstances of your termination may be able to testify on your behalf.
- Since often the evidence at the hearing amounts to little more than your word against your boss's, a former co-worker who can corroborate your side of the story can be the difference between winning and losing your case.
- If your former co-workers are still employed by the company that let you go, they may be unwilling to take your side against the company. Some states allow you to subpoena witnesses, which requires them to appear.Check with the unemployment office to find out if you have the ability to do this, and what your deadline is for requesting subpoenas be issued.
Continue looking for a new job.While you're preparing for your hearing, conduct yourself as if you were already getting benefits.
- Read the requirements for maintaining benefits. Typically you're required to apply for a certain number of jobs per week, and to be able and available to start work.
- Keep a detailed record of the places where you've applied to work, the position to which you applied, and any other relevant details such as the date you applied, the date you followed up, and whether an interview was scheduled.Treat your search for work as though it's your job.
Attending Your Hearing
Arrive at the hearing location.Your hearing may be held in a physical location, or it may take place over the telephone.
- You must show up at your hearing if you want to win your case. If you appealed and you don't show up, the appeal will be dismissed and you may not have another opportunity to file an appeal.
- On the other hand, if your former employer doesn't show up, the judge typically will still hold the hearing, but the odds are in your favor. If you were fired, your former employer must prove that you were fired for just cause – and it can't meet that burden if it's not there. However, if you quit, you still have the burden of proving to the judge that you quit for work-related reasons recognized by your state's law, regardless of whether your employer is there.
- If your hearing is in a physical location, such as the unemployment office, try to arrive a few minutes before the time your hearing is scheduled so you have an opportunity to organize your documents and prepare for the hearing. Dress in clean, professional clothing and treat the staff in the office with respect and courtesy.
- If your hearing is over the phone, prepare the documents you'll need before the time you're scheduled to call in, and make sure your phone is adequately charged. Set yourself up in a quiet room where you won't be interrupted and there won't be a lot of background noise. Once the call starts, stay in one place rather than pacing around – you want to avoid the possibility that your phone will lose signal.
- The judge typically will begin the hearing by explaining the process of the hearing and the rules of conduct that will be observed during the hearing.Pay close attention and make sure you understand the rules. If the judge says anything that you don't understand, you can ask for clarification, but wait until the judge asks if there are any questions – don't interrupt.
- After the judge's introduction, both you and your former employer will be sworn in. Anything you say during the hearing is said under oath, and must be the truth to the best of your knowledge.If you're asked a question and you don't know the answer, you can ask for the question to be clarified or restated, or you can simply say you don't know – but don't simply make something up for the sake of having an answer.
Present your case.Whether you present your case before or after your former employer may depend on whether you quit your job or were fired.
- At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to tell the judge your side of the story.Speak clearly, and stick to the facts as you make your presentation. You can use your notes to stay on track. Try to remain calm and avoid emotional outbursts or personal attacks on your supervisors or other company representatives.
- If you have witnesses, you may call them and ask them questions. Keep in mind that your former employer also will have the opportunity to question them once you've finished.
- After you've made your statement and presented your evidence to the judge, your former employer will have an opportunity to ask you questions based on anything you said or introduced.
Answer the judge's questions.The judge will ask questions to determine your eligibility for benefits.
- You can ask the judge for clarification if you don't understand what he or she asked, or if you want to understand more about why a certain question was asked. However, don't try to argue with the judge, and remember that you are under oath – avoid making untrue statements or inventing excuses for your behavior, as this can only hurt your case.
- The judge may ask you questions about your job search. Have your records handy so you can describe the efforts you've made in detail.
- You also should be prepared to answer questions about your work history, your education, your employment with the company, and the events leading up to your termination. To the extent possible, try to present yourself as an honest, hard-working employee.
Listen to the testimony of your former employer.Your former employer will have an opportunity to discuss the reasons you should be denied benefits.
- Don't argue or interrupt during this testimony. Remain calm, and make a note of anything your former employer says if you disagree with it or want to ask them further questions about it.
- If your former employer calls any witnesses, you also can ask them questions. Pay attention to both the questions asked and the way the witness answers them. Take notes regarding anything you wish to bring up in your cross-examination.
- When your former employer finishes giving his or her statement and presenting evidence, you will have the opportunity to cross-examine him or her. This means you can ask questions related to anything your former employer brought up.Try to avoid taking an argumentative or accusatory tone.
- Keep in mind that you don't have to cross-examine your former employer, or any of his or her witnesses, if you don't want to do so. If you feel uncomfortable or are worried you'll lose your cool, it's okay to pass.If you do decide to cross-examine your former employer or other witnesses, avoid asking questions to which you don't know the answer.
- If your former employer said something you know is a lie, try to find documentary evidence to confront him or her. For example, if your former employer states you were fired for violating a company policy, and the company policy was never included in your employee handbook, you can present your employee handbook to your former employer and ask her to point to the policy in that handbook. She will be forced to admit the policy was never written down, at which point she'll have difficulty proving that you knew about the policy.
Receive notice of the judge's decision.The judge makes his ruling soon after the hearing and written notice will be sent to you.
- If the judge rules against you, the notice typically will tell you what you must do to appeal that ruling. As with your initial appeal, you only have a brief period of time to appeal the decision – usually a week or so. Keep in mind that if the judge rules in your favor, your employer also has the right to appeal the decision.
QuestionIf the hearing is over the phone and I have evidence, how can I email it to the judge?Top AnswererEither contact the judge or the court beforehand to ask for the e-mail address, or ask for the e-mail address during the conversation.Thanks!
Can I request copies of documents the company presented against my claim?
Video: How to Win an Appeal for Unemployment Benefits
How to Avoid People You Dislike
The 10 Easiest Hairstyles of All Time
Whoa, Paris Fashion Week Is About to Get Even Better
10 Shahnaz Husain Beauty Tips For Skin Pigmentation
5 Ways To Channel Your Natural SummerStyle
The 5 Best Diet Books for Real-Life Weight Loss
Antibody Results from Everyday Health
How to Get Rid of Groundhogs
Flab-to-Fit: The Total Body Transformation Program
Filimin long distance touch lamp review