When your job is terminated or has its hours reduced, you are eligible for unemployment compensation in many instances. Two primary reasons an unemployment claim may be denied are because you quit your job or because you were fired by your employer because of misconduct. If you dispute your employer's accusation of misconduct, you can appeal the denial of your unemployment claim and present facts, testimony and evidence to a judge at an unemployment hearing. If you win the case, you will be awarded your unemployment benefits.
Review your unemployment case file. Your local unemployment office will have access to this file or provide you with details on how to view the information. Some states have limits on the amount of photocopies you can make of pages within your case file, but you can view the entire file and take notes as needed on all the included content.
Photocopy or take verbatim notes of the statements your former employer submitted relating to your alleged misconduct in the workplace. Since your appeal is focused on disproving misconduct as a reason for your ineligibility for unemployment benefits, devote the larger amount of your energies to this aspect of hearing preparation.
Write down your own version of events or situations that were reported in your case file as misconduct. Putting your own recollections down on paper immediately will help keep conversations fresh in the days and weeks leading up to your hearing, and will help you prepare for the questions the judge will ask.
Determine if there is anyone from your workplace who could testify on your behalf at the hearing or serve as a witness. An honest co-worker who was present for conversations where misconduct was alleged but did not actually occur could provide a solid testimony in favor of your appeal. It is also possible for you to subpoena witnesses when necessary.
Gather together data that disproves the alleged misconduct when this is possible. For example, if your employer alleges that you were an uncooperative employee, any citations, awards or employee evaluations that you received that stated otherwise would assist in countering their argument if more specific facts were not provided. You can also subpoena any relevant information your employer has on file when they will not willingly supply requested documentation.
Outline the points you want to make at your hearing on a notepad. Consult these notes during your hearing to ensure that all relevant information is brought forward.
Take notes during your hearing if your employer or your employer's representative brings up a point that you want to specifically address when you have an opportunity to speak.
Behave professionally during your hearing whether it is conducted in person or over the telephone.
If you do not win the initial appeal at your hearing, you have the opportunity to appeal again.
You can hire an attorney to represent you at an unemployment hearing. If you choose to represent yourself, your unemployment office will provide you with detailed information related to the hearing process to ensure that you are able to present your case.