Receiving an unemployment notice of appeal can be an intimidating situation for practice leaders and their HR teams. Preparation is paramount, so leaders should take immediate action in anticipation of unemployment hearings to ease many of these anxieties and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
The key to successfully defending unemployment appeals is understanding processes ahead of time and preparing for the hearing appropriately.
What to Know Before the Hearing
Unemployment appeal hearings are commonplace, as most employees who are denied benefits will understandably want to exhaust all efforts to have that decision reversed. If practice leaders have fully evaluated the situation prior to termination, they should feel confident in their ability to defend the decision at an appeal hearing.
Managers should be trained on the importance of documenting disciplinary actions and policy violations in a timely manner to ensure thorough examination and the ability to appropriately defend decisions.
Upon receipt of a notice of an appeal hearing, practice leaders should gather all documentation that supports the termination decision. Keep in mind that any evidence presented during the hearing, both from the employer and the former employee, will typically need to be sent in advance to the Appeals Referee, an attorney appointed to conduct the appeal hearing.
What to Expect at the Hearing
Most appeals hearings are held via telephone, though either party is able to request an in-person meeting. If the hearing is to take place via teleconference, participants should be in a location that is free from distracting noises and provides reliable connectivity.
During the appeal hearing, the officer will ask for testimony from each participant and witness. Witnesses can sit in on the hearing, and anyone who directly observed the employee’s actions can be an active participant. Defending employers should prepare and practice what will be said prior to the hearing, and arguments should always start with the facts of the case that clearly describe the actions that led to termination. Practice leaders should be prepared to answer any questions about the employee’s history and termination decision succinctly and confidently.
For further information about what to expect and how to prepare for unemployment appeals hearings, Curi members are invited to listen to the July 2019 HR|Experts mini-webinar titled Unemployment Appeals: What Practice Leaders Need to Know.
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