Protecting Your Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits are designed to help mitigate the financial shock of being terminated. Companies often operate compensation and benefit systems in concert with state governments. Employees pay into these plans and expect to get what they believe is owed to them after they have lost their job. But things are not so straightforward.
Being fired from your job—even if it seems to owe to downsizing or cutbacks rather than misconduct or inadequate performance—does not automatically entitle you to unemployment benefits. Your employer may submit an employer’s protest, at which point you will need to attend a hearing.
How to Prepare
The moment you find out that your claim for unemployment benefits has been objected to by your employer, you should hire an Unemployment Attorney. The hearing will not be like anything you have experienced or might expect.
Do not be taken in by any suggestion that the hearing is a mere formality and that in the end you will get your benefits. This is not true. You can be denied your benefits if things turn against you, which they will if you have not consulted with an attorney and do not have one beside you in the hearing.
Unemployment appeal hearings take place over the phone. A conference call is arranged and it will include your employer and their counsel, an unemployment judge, and you with your lawyer.
People have come out of such hearings completely stunned and bewildered, feeling as though they were treated unfairly and not listened to. That is because the other side knew the law and they did not. Employers can raise all kinds of legally-based objections to your receiving benefits, and their counsel will help them do so. That is why you must have a lawyer on your side who knows employment law and has mastered the facts of your case. They can offer strong rebuttal to the claims and objections of the other side.
The Law is Central
Judges who hear unemployment appeals will not be moved by the perilous situation that your job loss has thrown you into. They will be guided exclusively by fact, evidence, and the law. You must give your lawyer time to prepare your case, which is why you should reach out to them as soon as you get word that your employer plans to oppose your claim.
Most employers try to justify their protest by suggesting that you were fired for cause—let go for substandard performance. If this is incorrect, your lawyer will be able to gather the evidence proving it to be so. Old performance evaluations, statements by managers and supervisors, and other documents that show you have been a strong and steady worker will be presented. Your lawyer will also use their nuanced understanding of the law to advance your cause. They will be able to make objections to certain testimony the other side may want to introduce and make other moves to protect your rights and the integrity of the proceedings.