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The Burden of Proof at Tribunal Unemployment Insurance Appeal Hearings

Let's discuss the standard of law used for unemployment insurance and whether you need to meet, or rebut with information you think will affect positively, your eligibility to finally be allowed to collect, or retain unemployment benefits, should your employer be the one to appeal.

Frequently, at heart of the issue, therefore, the burden of proof, before the tribunal (lower level) unemployment appeal hearing officer, ALJ, commissioner, referee, or whatever title a state gives to this reasonable, fair and impartial person conducting the hearing, as mandated by law, is information that may be credible, yet not exactly what I call relevant, in terms of giving aid to this impartial person decide the case on only the issue.

The common burden of proofs, when I had a job, were always  framed as questions, as if the hearing might resemble a Jeopary game, and not be instructive as to what to focus on, which should be what can be allowed into the record in the form of testimony, cross examination testimony, and/or evidence of a number of varieties, and direct witness testimony to corroborate your own to answer the questions ...

Did the claimant voluntarily quit/leave employment with good cause attributable to the employer?

Did the employer discharge the employee for misconduct, or for a reason other than misconduct related to the work?


The Standard of Law to Collect, or Deny Benefit At Lowly Unemployment Hearings Is  a Preponderance 

Whether must prove, rebut, or simply babble about what you know to be true, the goal is to reach the standard of law is called, a preponderance, in that a burden is to prove facts relevant to quitting, or discharging, and whether you may, or may not have made the same info as available (another standard) at the time the initial determination was made.    


Information So You Know How Not to Lose Unemployment Appeal Hearings .. You Might Win

I know people avoid all those free explanatory unemployment resources, even if states keep ruining the links which I have a hard time keeping up with to fix.

But sincerely, if you need to win an appeal hearing to get benefits, or just so you don't end up having to repay benefits .. here's one I don't think you should choose to miss .. if you really need to do your best to meet, or rebut a burden .. to collect benefits.

The California EDD has offered this free and downloadable resource for years.  I recommend it, even to those with a claim in another state.

Not ironic that it's titled..  27 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Unemployment Appeal

Of course, if you still think you need help with a hearing, there's always the possibility I can refer you to a professional Unemployment Appeal Representative or potentially coach you for a small fee, on how unemployment works .. before your eligibility interview.


What's Good Evidence .. The Type to Help You Win an Unemployment Appeal?

Good evidence for an unemployment hearing, is usually some document created while you're still employed, and with specific intent for the purpose of being relevant to the issue and cause, should you become separated from a job you're going to claim was through no fault of your own.

Sometimes I find a person may still have the employee handbook full of the employer's general rules and policies that may be helpful, or the employer's grievance process to bring legitimate, and workable problems to the attention of the employer. 

However, should you one of those employees who document because you are suspicious your boss might perjure him, or herself to to duck when you testify you only verbally explained your problem then document .. document, document.

It's the same advice I've given to many in Q&As, and regardless of what the unemployment issue might be .. because for me .. employees do need to document, document, document, just as if they'd attended a training session held by an employer, the wonders of  never failing to write things down accurately when that can help tell a better version of an unemployment story .. and when not to write things down .. that may hurt the cause.

Parties to appeals, particularly claimants, often focus their attention only on the separation (discharge or voluntary quit) issue and overlook such additional issues as: alleged false statements, overpayments, availability or claim filing requirements. 

"You may be astonished to hear what the other side has to say when they get before an ALJ. If you approach preparation of the case as if it were your own appeal, you will be better prepared to meet whatever contentions the other side raises."

Parties to appeals often misconceive the issues. For some unknown reason, the claimant who has been disqualified for quitting without good cause spends time and energy producing such things as favorable performance reports to prove he or she was a good worker or, in a case of a discharge for alleged misconduct, comes to the hearing with a long list of complaints about the employing company and job conditions.

Source: Twenty Seven Ways to Avoid Losing Your Unemployment Appeal

Articles  and Q&A Related to Unemployment's Burden of Proof

Working on the Burden While You're Still an Employee  - It surprises many to hear what I know caused their inability  to prove good cause to quit, or lack of any if they end up fired.  It's frequently nothing more than what they didn't choose to do save and preserve their job .. while they still had a job.

What is the Burden of Misconduct to Fire an Employee - The fortunate thing about the burden of proof for an employer, is that work misconduct is the concept you need to rebut. But, I can't tell you how many time I've talked to someone, only to hear them tell me what they told the initial claim adjudicator .. to question them further and see if there was a way to rehabilitate the story they originally told the department and ended with an initial denial.

Q&As about the Burden of Quitting a Job -  Employees are frequently too timid to take on as an employee, what they need to approach proving the burden of fault connected to and attributable to the work, or employer, in some way, even to a special voluntary quit provision that may create exceptions to lessen the burden of proving fault to a lesser degree.

Q&As about Rebutting the Burden of Misconduct -  Tell me a story that explains, or just claims, why you don't think you're guilty of breaking employers rules, standards and expectations of behavior, or not meeting the performance requirement an employer has a right to expect, and I'll tell you it may sound good enough, for me to think you maybe should get benefits.

But that still doesn't eliminate any questions I may have to ask you, how you think the employer will try to prove your guilt of misconduct.

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