If you have lost your job and file a claim for unemployment benefits, it can be highly disconcerting when your employer disputes your claim. When an employer contests a claim for unemployment benefits, it normally indicates that the company does not believe that the claimant is eligible for the benefits. Your employer might dispute your claim for a reason related to why you lost your job. If your employer is contesting or appealing your unemployment benefits claim, talk to the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler to learn about your options.
How does unemployment work?
Unemployment compensation programs are federal and state support programs for temporarily unemployed workers. The unemployment system pays benefits to unemployed workers out of funds that have been collected from the employer through taxes. Every state has a minimum requirement for the length of time working for an employer and the total amount of wages earned. The states also establish the conditions that allow workers who have lost their jobs to be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.
Most employees do not pay money into the system. The unemployment taxes that employers pay are based on the number of claims that have been filed against the employer. If an employer believes that a worker is not eligible for benefits, the employer can challenge the worker’s claim for benefits.
Why do employers contest claims?
Every state has a minimum requirement for the length of time that you must keep a job before you are eligible for unemployment compensation. There is also a minimum requirement for the total wages that you must earn from an employer. The states also set conditions for when an employee is eligible for benefits based on the reason for the job termination.
When you file a claim for unemployment compensation, your former employer will receive a notification that the claim has been filed. The company can review the information that you submitted in your claim and file an objection with the unemployment system about any of the claims that you have made.
Employers typically contest claims when employees are fired for misconduct when they have voluntarily resigned from their jobs, when they did not work long enough or earn enough to qualify, or when they were independent contractors instead of employees.
What occurs when an employer contests your unemployment claim?
If your claim for unemployment benefits is contested by your employer, an investigator from the state’s department of labor will review your case. The information that was provided by your former employer will be reviewed, and the investigator might talk to the employer to gain more insight.
The investigator might contact you to ask you some questions about the reasons why you were terminated from your job. If you are contacted, make sure to respond honestly, thoroughly, and quickly. After you have responded, the unemployment office staff will decide whether or not you should receive benefits.
If your claim is approved, your employer can appeal the decision and ask for a hearing. If your claim is denied, a written notice will be sent to you. The notice will contain information about the appeals process and the deadline to file an appeal.
What is the appeals process for unemployment claims?
To learn about the appeals process, you can contact the unemployment office and ask them about how it hands appeals. You can find this information on the website, but you can always call the office if you need further clarification. A lawyer at Swartz Swidler can also answer any questions that you might have about your claim and what to expect during the appeals process.
Generally, your attorney will be allowed to participate in your hearing and give you advice. However, you will have to present evidence at your hearing. You can call witnesses to counter your employer’s reasons for denying your benefits. Your employer can also call witnesses to support its reasons for contesting your claim.
Make sure to bring copies of documents that help to negate any misconduct claims that your employer might make. During the unemployment appeals process, you are required to file weekly claims if you want to receive unemployment benefits for each of those weeks.
Protecting your claim
You will be much likelier to succeed at the appeals hearing if you can provide plenty of documentation to support the basis for your claim. Gather emails, the contents of your personnel file, letters from your former colleagues and supervisors, doctors’ notes, and other supporting evidence that helps your claim.
Your employer will also bring documents to present at the hearing. After both of you have presented your evidence and called your witnesses, the appeals board will decide whether you or your employer will prevail.
Make sure that you file your appeal well within the deadline. Continue filing for weekly benefits while your appeal is pending to receive benefits. Either party can appeal a decision. Make sure that you go to every scheduled meeting to avoid risking a loss of your appeal.
Contact Swartz Swidler
If you have received a notice that your former employer is contesting your claim for unemployment benefits, you should act quickly. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can review your claim and your employer’s allegations and explain what you might expect. They can also help you with your appeal if it appears that you should be eligible for benefits. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling our office at 856.685.7420.