Top 5 Tips for Your Unemployment Hearing

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on December 14, 2010 5:46 AM

Denied. If that was the response you got after filing an unemployment insurance claim, all is not lost. An unemployment hearing provides the recently unemployed a chance to contest their unemployment eligibility. Be sure to act promptly as there is usually a small window (typically 30 days) to request a hearing.

To begin, knowing the reason for your denial is key to preparing for an unemployment hearing. Claims can be denied for various reasons, including: quitting voluntarily without good cause, misconduct, failing to make a timely request, and making false statements.

The unemployment hearing will be your chance to tell your side of the story. But your former employer, who will be on the hook for benefits if you win, will be eager to present the other side. Bear that in mind before and during the proceedings.

With that, here are FindLaw's top 5 tips for preparing for an unemployment hearing:

  1. Gather necessary paperwork and evidence to support your eligibility. This may include performance evaluations, pay stubs, phone bills, warning letters and employee handbooks -- anything to show that your denial was unwarranted.
  2. Prepare speaking points in order to effectively convey all the reasons why the denial was inappropriate. Doing this will also ensure that you do not forget any key issues.
  3. Ask witnesses to attend, if necessary. If the issue becomes a battle of "he-said, she-said," your strongest argument may be the words of a former co-worker.
  4. Consider an employment lawyer to help with the hearing and any potential issues you may bring against your former employer. Having a professional guide you through this process might set your mind at ease and be money well spent. FindLaw.com has a wealth of information that can help you select an employment attorney.
  5. Remain calm. Whatever frustrations you may have with the process or your former employer, you will not win your unemployment hearing on emotion. Avoid arguing with the judge, as he has the sole discretion to grant you some much-needed unemployment insurance funds. There's also no point in getting into it with your ex-boss, so take the high road.

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