FAQ

Do I need representation at an unemployment hearing?

Yes. Yesis a complete sentence.
How much does it cost?
There are legal aid societies that represent claimants for free if you qualify
as indigent and attorneys can charge what they want, but usually the state
has to approve the charge. For instance, in some states the charge can’t
exceed 7% of the amount of your claim.
Do I need to notify the appeals office that I’ll be represented?
No, your representative will do that for you.
Will my employer be able to check my credit score?
Yes, but not all employers do, it depends on the vocation, ie., banker, loan
officer, cashier, etc.
How many days do I have to request an appeal?
Different states have different deadlines. Read all material sent to you
closely from your particular state.
What is a Decision from an Appeals Referee, Hearing Officer or
Administrative Law Judge?
This means the referee, judge, hearing officer, your former employer,
Human Resources generalist, witnesses and yourself were together on a
telephone conference or in person. Both sides were able to tell their side of
the story. Then a decision was rendered.
What is a Determination Letter or Notice of Determination Letter from
the State?
A determination letter is what you receive after you file your initial claim
for benefits. Either the letter states that you are entitled to your benefits,
or you are not. If you are entitled to your benefits, then the employer has a
certain period to contest your claim. If you are denied your benefits, then
you have a certain period to disagree with the finding.

Are the period of times to contest a Determination letter final?

There are exceptions, for instance if you never received the Notice or it was
received late through no fault of your own, you can sometimes get around
the statutory period to file.
What is a Referee, Hearing Officer, or Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)?
Different states have different titles. They decide whether you receive your
UI benefits after listening to both sides. They are not real judges like the
kind that can fine you or put you in jail, but they do have the authority to
award you benefits.
How many times can my employer appeal?
It may seem endless sometimes, but generally, when there is an appeal to the Commission,
Higher Authority or Board, they will either affirm the referee’s decision, or
remand the case back to the referee for another hearing to clarify an issue
raised on appeal. Remand means return to the referee for further hearing.
Then after the referee rewrites their decision or changes the decision
against you, or in your favor, you can then file an appeal to the
Commission, Board or Higher Authority, and then they can send it back
again to the referee, but I haven’t seen this process last more than 3 times.
Your next remedy is to the Circuit Court or to the District Court of Appeal,
which takes it out of the administrative process.
How long does this process take?
Roughly 56 weeks, but it can last several weeks longer.
If I quit, can I still collect unemployment benefits?
Yes. Yesis a complete sentence.
If I was fired, can I collect unemployment benefits?
Yes. Yesis a complete sentence.
Aren’t I entitled to my unemployment benefits?
Not always. If your employer proves you committed Misconduct as defined
by your state’s definition of misconduct, then you would be disqualified.
I’ve been working all my life, aren’t I entitled to my benefits?
No. Typically, the state looks at your employment history by going back 45
days from your claim and then counts back 6 base periods, a base period is
3 months. Whoever is your employer at that point is selected as a party to
your claim.
My employer lied, how do I appeal this?
My employer is not providing documents in my personnel file, which I
know are there, how do I force him to produce them?
You can subpoena them by notifying the deputy clerk. They will issue the
subpoena for you.
I failed my drug test, but I shouldn’t have been selected in the first place,
how do I fight this?
I was sick and my employer was aware of my illness and still counted the
absence against me, how can he do that?
Simple, you probably signed off on an employee handbook without reading
it, but there are ways to fight this, find proper representation.
Do I have to work when my employer ask me to work overtime at the end
of the day?
No. Usually, your handbook addresses this issue, and states something like,
“an employee may be asked to work a reasonably amount of overtime.”
My boss has video of me sleeping on the job, can he use the video at an
unemployment hearing?
Yes, but if you have the proper representation, it shouldn’t carry too much
weight.
I already had an unemployment hearing and the judge was bias against
me, can I request a different judge?
Yes.
I was fired because I was accused of drinking too much at a social affair
that my boss attended, can he fire me for that?
Yes.
Do I have to sign a corrective action notice even if it is full of lies?
You should, but write your objections on the document and get a copy.
Do I have to acknowledge receiving an employee handbook without
reading it?
No. Take it home and return with questions.
Do I have to participate in my company’s exit interview?
No. Nois a complete sentence.
Do I have to return company property?
Yes, it is not yours if the employer wants it back.
I’m a substitute teacher and my employer claims I had “reasonable
assurance” to work the next school year simply because I have a teacher’s
certificate, is this true?
No, it’s all about your understanding of reasonable assurance.
I work on tankers and I’m off the sea every other month, can I collect
unemployment benefits?
Yes.
I was accused of not being honest on my employment application and
fired me months after I began working for the employer, can they do
that?
Yes, but there are numerous ways to defend this.
My coworker is bullying me, what can I do?
If you go to Human Resources, they will likely make you feel like the
aggressor. Call the police. The employer will get the message quick to act
and you’ll have a police report as evidence.
 
I’m handicapped and my employer is suddenly not accommodating me,
do I have recourse?
Yes. Provide the employer with another copy of your restriction notice from
your doctor. If the employer fails to follow it, find proper representation.