How to win an unemployment appeal - It's an interesting question most employees don't think about until after they lose.
There is nothing like first evaluating for merits and then preparing a case on those merits for an appeal hearing, that makes you aware it's not only factual strengths that allow a win, but being aware of the weaknesses in a case that can be used against even, valid arguments.
An unemployment hearing results from an appeal of an initial determination and it is the hearing which is nothing less than a verbal argument, consisting of testimony, evidence and effective cross examination of the opposition's direct witnesses.
But this quasi-legal proceeding is controlled by more rules and regulations than what you find in unemployment statutes.
Here's one of DOLETA's directives to state UI agencies - Handbook for Measuring Lower Authority UI Appeal Quality
If you feel confident to represent yourself at an unemployment appeal hearing .. you're not me. In 2009 when my temp employer appealed my benefits .. I chose to be represented ..
Although I understood perfectly, why I should win, I wasn't in the mood for taking chances, nor repaying over four thousand in benefits I had already received.
But I was prepared and had enough training in appeals to know I'm not the representative type. I knew what hearing reps did and I had one who would be unemotional and quite capable of protecting my rights to due process ... on the record
I was livid with what the employer did during that all important first level unemployment appeal hearing, but when the employer's final appeal to the agency's oversite committee, i.e., board of review, the fight over my benefits ended..
I finally felt confident as I knew further appeal would now have to go beyond the quasi-legal administrative law agency of the unemployment insurance department.
Meaning the matter of appeal would now leave the quasi-legal realm of an administrative law agency and enter the real legal system of court appeals.
Court appeals even those over unemployment can become more costly than the value, or liability of an unemployment claim .. even for most employers.
And at this point you'd be unwise to not seek out an employment lawyer to prove why and how the principles of law have been overlooked by your state unemployment insurance agency.
A letter to appeal a denial of benefits should not be the document that provides self disqualifying information to explore.
There is absolutely no reason a claimant of benefits, disagreeing with an initial determination of benefits, clueless as to how the appeal process works, should spill their guts before they get to the referee, or first level tribunal unemployment hearing.
An appeal letter should say just enough to show your disagreement to gets a first level appeal hearing scheduled.
By the time the hearing dated rolls around, you should be prepared and not need to request a continuance, or last minute postponement to get your case together. However, if that's what you have to do, do not hesitate to request a postponement for a legitimate good cause reason .. to protect a right to due process.
If you want someone that knows how to prepare and present your appeal, or defend against an employer appeal - let them write your appeal letter.
It will probably be shorter than my sample unemployment appeal letter.
The difference between an appeal to an unemployment tribunal and those going to a board of review, is that the valid subject of an appeal is like night and day to most common folks who haven't gone to law school.
No matter what they call the lower authority for appeals - tribunal, or commission it's your chance to set the circumstances under which the separation from employment occurred.
Tribunal unemployment appeal are scheduled in response to claim determinations of benefits being disagreed with and result in a hearing being docketed. Both unemployed person and the employer will receive a notice of hearing with a date, time and further instructions providing basic preparation information.
At this lower authority (first level) appeal hearing, both you and employer are given your one opportunity to fully hash out who is really at fault and the cause for the job separation.
A lower level tribunal, or commission hearing is also called the full fact finder, which includes testimony, witnesses, evidence and ... cross examinations.
Only a tribunal hearing decision can be appealed to an unemployment board of review.
The question is ..what does an unemployment insurance board... actually review?
The first, lower level hearing gave you all the opportunity you're going to get to testify, submit documents and call witnesses relevant to a job separation .. unless you can get a board of review to find one of your rights to due process might of been ignored, or improperly withheld at a lower level hearing. The evidence would be on the record.
Yes, they actually record hearing and whatever happened there .. becomes the record.
A board of review is not interested in rehashing facts about your case as gathering all the facts is the function of a lower level hearing where the hearing officer is mandated to be fair and impartial to both the interested party to the appeal.
Now, the only question remaining for about thirty to forty percent of claimants with a valid argument that decided to go forth unrepresented is why they thought they were prepared to win the first hearing.
More About an Unemployment Appeal