The Burden of Proof to Collect, or Be Denied Unemployment Benefits

If employers, or unemployment claim management companies know it's important to consider how, when, or why an employee may be able to collect unemployment benefits inside the context of a burden of proof, it makes no sense for that employee to not consider the same, whether they appeal an initial determination, or their employer does. 

Knowing what your issue is, lets you know whether you, or the employer is correctly assigned the burden of proving fault, as well as the context for  fault, before, or after you quit, or get fired from a job. 

In addition to the standard of law termed a preponderance, (used also in civil court matters) we the claimant, either need to meet, or rebut a burden of proof at a lower level unemployment appeal hearing.

A claimant may also want to consider their own ability, or that of whomever they assume will be the employer's direct witness at a hearing, to argue coherently to meet some valid point, of how a state's unemployment law, and/or regulations should work to fairly and impartially, dispense it's  unemployment laws.

Although there are unemployment hearing instructions that come with hearing notices, I know some states imply the tribunal hearing process is designed to work without a party needing representation.

In the world I came from that bit of instruction was ingored and  it was usually only the claimant who felt compelled they needed to take the state's word on this procedure matter. 

Rules of procedure for administrative law hearings, is just  one more reason for me to  offer you, a referral to a professional hearing rep .. when and if a state's rules about hearings, make that a possibility for me.

A Lesser Standard of Law for a Burden of Proof During the Initial Unemployment Claim Determination Phase

An initial eligibility claim determination (a non-monetary issue) in just about every state in this country begins with something along the lines of ...

Based upon the available information you have been determined to be eligible, (or ineligible) to receive unemployment benefits under (the section of law relevant to the issue of cause for separation).

The determination may then go on to explain in detail, or generically, the reasoning underlying the claim adjudicator determination allowing, or denying benefits.

Now take a guess at who I know appeals most often, when they disagree with an initial eligibility determination based upon the available information .. they may not of provided during the adjudication process?

Here's a hint .. it wasn't you .. the claimant who was initially allowed to collect, or even the claimant initially denied unemployment benefits.

Given the standard of law applied to make a determination on the available information they get after asking both you and the employer for information about the cause for separation .. is a low bar and potentially erroneous due to a lack of information from an employer, or employer .. my question is why wouldn't more claimants appeal on principle, if for no other reason?

Maybe it's because employees have no faith in a process .. they never thought they'd need to learn about .. because they'd rather work .. than collect.

That's fine .. I actually get this line of reasoning.   But I also enjoy a fight if the fight begins with the idea winning on principle is important to not you, or me, but to the larger collective, of those who may of lost a job through no fault of their own, but didn't know how to, or even if they should fight.


How Not to Lose Your Unemployment Appeal Hearing .. You Might Otherwise Win

I once coached people on how I believed they could win a hearing .. I charged fifty bucks.  I no longer coach anyone personally for even a buck, but I do talk to people who are considering, or have already filled out the hearing rep referral form.

Years ago, I came across an ebook that made me think coaching could be a good way to put advice, into action.  It was called  27 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Unemployment Appeal

Here's a sampling from the book, that describes why I think claimants especially, should consider being represented, if they have many hundreds, or thousands of dollars in benefits at stake .. sometimes plus interest and/or penalties.

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

More 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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