So, what's so tough about winning an unemployment appeal hearing, if you're the one who needs to collect, or keep and not repay unemployment benefits already received and spent on the necessities of life .. while you search for new at-will employment?
It's identifying how to argue relevantly and with enough procedural precision to sway, or compel the fair and purportedly, impartial hearer of the facts about the cause for separation, to actually win the first, or lower level unemployment appeal hearing, usually conducted as a phone hearing, to establish the record of credible facts, via a full exploration of the burden of proof, where the moving party (claimant when a quit, employer when a discharge) proves and the non-moving party rebuts any fault for the loss of a job.
The unemployment appeal process is underused by claimants and over-used by employers .. this is just my personal opinion .. although it is based on my experience coordinating these hearings .. for employers.
Now go googling and see if you can find your state's unemployment law decision digest, or manual because it might begin to explain how to spill the right beans to properly assign fault .. at this type of administrative law hearing.
The bean references are not to make light of what can happen at your hearing, but to let you know .. you too many unemployed people do underestimate what it does take to prepare and represent themselves and the consequences of not doing either.
Stop disqualifying yourself with your own unemployment appeal letters
The UI appeal process begins when a claimant, or employer, opts to exercise their right to disagree with an initial determination via an appeal letter. The purpose of the first appeal letter isn't to begin fully exploring, but to get a lower level (tribunal, or commission) hearing on the state's administrative law agency's hearing schedule.
The lower level appeal hearing allows any party to fully explain their disagreement or agreement, relevant to the burden of proof surrounding the non-monetary separation facts about "fault".
So to answer one common question about appeals and unemployment hearings; Can an employer change their approach, or add evidence for an appeal hearing?
But then, so can an unemployed person when they figure out what valid argument they may of had from the beginning of their claim, that makes winning a lower level unemployment hearing a possibility now, that they know the initial claim process is fallible, due to a lower standard of proof of the available information .. to initially meet a burden of proof.
My advice to an unemployed person .. learn how to write a sufficient unemployment appeal letter, without spilling beans that can be used by a state, or an employer, to finally and fully explore why you, the claimant, should once again, or for the first time, be denied unemployment benefits.
Unemployment law may not of meant much to you, in the big scheme of your ongoing life as an at-will employee, but the process that follows a quit, or discharge opens you up to a burden of proof and rules, regulations, precedent decisions and even court decisions, allowing and denying benefits after what began as a quasi-legal administrative law process ..
Frankly from my point of view quasi-legal is not synonymous with what many states describes as an informal lower level unemployment hearing, some think they don't need to prepare to win .. quasi, or somewhat like .. a lawyer would.
I know without doubt, winning the first hearing is a crucial point in the unemployment process for a claimant, or employer. What I mean is you are nuts to not be prepared and expect you can then be successful with a second level appeal.
Q&As about unemployment appeals indicate to me what unfamiliarity with the appeal process often causes. Especially, when there was a lack of understanding about what these hearings are for.
Representing yourself well can be a big learning curve to first understand how to best represent your side of the story adequately, and with the intent of avoiding the need for a written argument to a hearing decision for an unemployment board of review.
It doesn't take long to learn if the factual elements you think are important are a strength to be exploited, or a weakness you may need to be guarded against, and prepared for, during the hearing.
To improve an overall ability to win an unemployment hearing, it is just as important to be prepared to know what not to say, as it is to know when you should say something on the recording of that hearing to object on your own behalf because both employees and employers have a responsibility to know when they are in a position to protect their rights to due process.
This is often what a board of review looks for .. errors made with how the hearing was conducted that made it less than fair, or impartial for at least one party despite the fact you made an attempt to remind the hearing officer of a right to due process.
Objection .. Objection, Objection.
Here again is my template for a Keep It Simple Stupid unemployment appeal letter if you are appealing a denial of unemployment.
To date, I haven't attempted to systematically link to hearing instructions for every state because they often change and I can't find them all online in a .pdf.
But, it's sort of necessary to read the instructions that come with every unemployment hearing notice .. especially, if you're truly clueless about what can go on at hearings in the first place if an employer, or their hearing rep is an old hand at these hearings, with multi-state experience using not just facts, evidence and testimony, but using rules of procedure to their advantage..
If you need a referral to someone who can represent, or coach you to represent yourself .. let me know.
It's good to know what information was made available during the initial process. A state agency's keeps a file on your claim to include all that information gathered from both a claimant and employer during the initial claim process. The file should also include the adjudicator's notes, because frequently, it's good to get some much needed insight as to what you said .. and what they wrote in their notes about what you said.
If your state does not provide the state claim file prior to the notice of unemployment hearing, or does not transfer this claim file to the appeal section of the UI department, I would advise you still call your state to find out what you have to do to obtain a copy of the state's file on your claim.
The first unemployment appeal hearing, is referred to as a FULL fact finder proceeding for a reason. The purpose of all first level hearings, is to fully establish the record about the listed issues found on a hearing notice. You have subpoena rights .. for documents, or witnesses relevant to proving, or rebutting the burden of proof .. no matter what some employee at the department might tell you.
And finally, understand what standard of law is being used at unemployment appeal hearings .. because it's not beyond a shadow of a doubt .. but a preponderance of the evidence and testimony provided at the FIRST unemployment hearing.
The initial monetary determination at minimum will establish the base period for your claim, and there they find the highest quarter of earnings in to establish how much unemployment benefits you will receive each week.
I don't know about you, but I think how much unemployment will pay is an important issue and one that any erroneous departmental errors causing a smaller weekly benefit amount for any reason needs to be assessed and appealed when necessary.
Do you have relevant evidence, or testimony you believe might of helped you to win the first and usually last lower level unemployment hearing?
Why didn't you have it prepared to submit for the first hearing?
But now that you've lost the first hearing you want to if have what it takes for a successful appeal to a board that reviews hearing decisions and possibly for procedural mistakes made by a hearing officer.
You should want to win the first unemployment hearing because winning a second level board of review appeal isn't a second chance to explain your story of job loss, but to explain why you quasi legally, deserve a second chance to have another first level hearing to do that.
Board appeals aren't always difficult. Often used by employers for things, like asking for a reopening, so they can show good cause for non-appearance at the first hearing. I've personally spent a great deal of time .. doing just this .. requesting postponements for employers as a method of protecting their right to due process because it improves the odds for a reopening and another lower level hearing.
But, when both parties appear for the lower level hearing, a board appeal is usually disagreeing with a hearing officer .. or their decision.
For this, you need a good written argument (called a brief in some circles) pointing out the H.O's errors and defects made on the record by the hearing officer who was also mandated to conduct the first unemployment hearing fairly and impartially.
So, let me ask you, do you know when to object on the record? Do you know you can make a request during the hearing for continuances so you might obtain evidence you know will help explain your position .. and verbal argument made at a hearing.
There's more to preparing to win the first hearing than spilling your guts at one .. you have to learn how to tell your story in a way not common to most of us. As if you knew what happens at administrative law hearings and the laws that should be applied in your case.
Literally any reason you can be separated from you job, whether you think it isn't your fault, or an employer thinks it's all your fault is subject to being fully explored at the FIRST unemployment appeal hearing .. and therefore employees in the "new" and rapidly changing labor markets of today .. have at much at state to know how UI works as well as those who employ us.
Unemployment Law It contains the issues found on all appeal hearing notices.
Sample Appeal Letter For a Denial of Unemployment - Instead of writing an untenable short story.
Frequently Asked Appeal Hearing Questions