When an appeal is filed, you will receive notification in the mail. This will happen if you file the appeal or if your former employer does. Most cases are heard by Appeals within 30 days of filing with most cases heard within two weeks. The Notice of Hearing before a Referee will give you the time, date and the place of the hearing. Once the appeal is filed, you must show for the hearing. If you do not show for the hearing, you will probably lose the appeal. If you haven’t been notified of your hearing date in a few days, contact your unemployment office to find out if they can look it up for you. You may not even be able to get another hearing schedule if you don’t have a good reason for postponing or missing the first hearing date. Unless there is a documented real emergency that makes it unavoidable for you to make your hearing, do not miss it.
You can bring legal counsel with you if you desire, but witnesses that have first hand knowledge of the separation will help you be successful with your appeal. If you will proceed on your own behalf, you have the right to do the following:
- Make your opening statement to summarize your case and to make a closing statement to summarize what you have presented.
- Bring in witness to testify in support of your side.
- Submit any documents which help you support your case
- Cross examine any of the employer’s witnesses
- Subpoena witnesses and records that will help your case
- Object to evidence or testimony that is introduced.
If you have other legal disputes with your employer, such as arbitration, workers’ compensation, or discrimination cases, and are represented in those disputes, you should tell your attorney or representative about your unemployment claim. These reasons for separation will not be covered in this book. If you decide to have representation, you must decide before the hearing. If you change your mind afterwards, you will not be given a new hearing.
If you believe that the circumstances in which the situation that caused your separation has since changed, call and request an interview to discuss the situation. You can withdraw your appeal (your employer can as well) before you meet with the Referee. Do not withdraw your appeal unless you are comfortable with the initial decision. If you have returned to work after filing your appeal, attend the meeting anyway because you may still be entitled to unemployment benefits during the time you were not employed. The hearings will be held during business hours and you can possibly attend the hearing by phone.
Make sure you indicate to Unemployment Personnel that you have returned to work so they can work with you on the appeal time and attendance. If you are 50 miles or more away from the location of the hearing, you will most likely be granted the ability to attend by phone.
During the hearing, you must present your evidence and testimony to prove that you should receive unemployment benefits or should continue to receive them. The Referee will not try to find the information out for you to make the case. It is your responsibility to make the case. The Referee will review the information and the testimony of your witnesses. The hearing is your only opportunity to tell your side of the story. Tell the Referee everything you can think of that is pertinent to the case. If you quit your job because it was affecting your health, has your doctor prepare a detailed statement including:
- Medical history prior to separation
- Dates of Medical Appointments
- Your medical condition as it relates to your separation
- What was your doctor’s understanding of the job and how it affected your health?
- Restrictions on your employment as a result of you condition.
- If your doctor gave you advice to leave your job.