There may come a time when you must file for unemployment benefits due to the loss of your job. Depending on the reason you came to be jobless, your employer may deny you the right to collect unemployment benefits. While you can appeal that decision, so can the employer, so you should make sure you understand what your rights are when it comes to the possible denial of your unemployment insurance.
Filing An Unemployment Claim
When you lose your job, you should immediately file for unemployment insurance. Once that is done, your state’s labor department will contact your employer to verify the information you have submitted. It is at this point that your employer will either approve or deny your claim.
While employers approve the vast majority of unemployment benefit claims, there are some claims that are not approved for various reasons. These include claims where the applicant has voluntarily quit the job. In most cases, state and federal laws prohibit workers who walk off the job from receiving unemployment benefits. The same is generally true for people who are fired.
If You Are Denied Benefits
If an employer denies your unemployment claim, you have the right to appeal through your state labor department. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it is up to each state to make determinations of eligibility based on its own laws. Therefore, it is extremely important that you immediately file an appeal if your claim is denied.
You may be successful with your appeal to your state labor department, which can find that you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Your employer may not be satisfied with that decision, and also has the right to appeal.
If the firm that employed you appeals, it can request a hearing before the labor department in the state where you worked. This gives the department the chance hear the reasoning of both parties for why the claim should or should not be denied.
The U.S. Labor Department stresses that it does not have authority to intervene in individual claims for benefits, nor does any other department or agency of the federal government.
In addition to a face-to-face meeting, there may be a phone meeting as part of the hearing process. Both parties are usually required to be present for these meetings.
The employer will likely present as much disparaging information about you as possible in an appeal of your unemployment request. For that reason, it is important that you are meticulous in documenting all of your strong points, especially if your job loss is the result of being fired. After the appeal is filed, you have the right to subpoena documents from your previous employer if you think it will help you prove your case. For example, if you received evaluations that show you were a strong worker, you can subpoena that information.
Grounds for Employer Appeal of Unemployment Claim
There are a number of reasons an employer can give for appealing a claim. These include having had to fire you because you failed to adequately perform the duties of your job. If you voluntarily quit a job, your employer can also argue against having to pay you unemployment benefits. This is especially true in cases where employees state they can no longer perform their work duties because of a long-term illness. If the employer offers a different job that can be carried out and the employee refuses it, the employer can deny benefits.