Workplace Rights

Weekly (1/25/21)

Topic of the Week  Unemployment Appeals

Most states provide multiple levels of review of unemployment decisions, with the final decisions going to an appeals court. If you lose the first round appeal or hearing, you can appeal that decision to an appeal board that is part of the same unemployment agency. Read the decision closely for information on how to appeal and follow the rules and deadlines closely. Most appeals to an appeal board involve only a written submission, rather than any in-person testimony. You must explain why you believe that the judge's decision was incorrect, so be specific and point to clear errors in the facts or the law.

1. I was turned down for benefits and think that the state was wrong in determining that I was ineligible. Can I appeal the state's determination?

Yes, but do so as quickly as possible. Once you receive your denial in the mail, you typically have between 10 and 30 days to request an appeal. Each state has its own procedure, so after your hearing is scheduled you may want to contact your local unemployment office or state agency for specific information regarding the appeal process. Remember to continue claiming weekly benefits for any week that you are unemployed during this time.

2. What if my employer disagrees with the decision to award me benefits? Can my employer appeal?

The appeals process generally operates the same way, whether it is initiated by you after a denial of benefits, or by your employer after you have been awarded benefits.

There are many reasons why an employer may appeal the grant of unemployment benefits. Currently, employers pay taxes that contribute to unemployment benefits. Their tax rates are dependent upon the number of employees filing claims. An employer may try to minimize the amount of taxes they have to pay by appealing every determination they receive.

An employer may also simply disagree that you are eligible for benefits. They may claim that you quit without good cause, engaged in misconduct, or violated workplace policies. Fortunately, you will be able to present witnesses and evidence at the hearing to prove your employer wrong.

3. Do I need a lawyer to represent me in an unemployment appeal?

You can either hire an attorney or represent yourself in the hearing. The process is designed for non-lawyers, so don\'t be intimidated if you don\'t have a lawyer. Every day thousands of unemployed workers win UI benefit appeals without the benefit of a lawyer. However, an attorney can help guide you through the appeal process and provide peace of mind. There may also be low-cost legal aid available to you in your area.

If your employer is appealing (and has a practice of appealing all or most unemployment claims), then be prepared for your employer to have a lawyer or to use an agency which specializes in opposing unemployment claims.

Thought of the Week

"Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today."

–Thich Nhat Hanh Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Teacher, Author, Peace Activist

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from The White House

    Fact Sheet: President Biden’s New Executive Actions Deliver Economic Relief for American Families and Businesses Amid the COVID-19 Crises

    • Allow larger emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allotments for the lowest-income households. 
    • Ensure Equitable and Effective Delivery of Direct Payments. 
    • Guarantee that No American Has to Choose Between Paying Their Bills and Keeping Themselves and Their Families Safe from COVID-19.
    • Help Families, Workers and Small Businesses Access Relief Resources Quickly, Easily and Equitably through Coordinated Benefit Delivery Teams.
    • Restores collective bargaining power and worker protections by revoking Trump Executive Orders 13836, 13837, and 13839.
    • Eliminates Schedule F, which undermines the foundations of the civil service.
    • Promotes a $15 minimum wage. 


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