22 points for Unemployment Self Representation

22 points for Unemployment Self Representation https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/court-600x198.png

Equifax – An unemployment hearing is an informal legal proceeding scheduled to allow all parties the opportunity to present testimony and evidence on issues related to a claimant’s unemployment claim. The hearing officer uses the testimony and evidence provided to make a reasonable and unbiased decision on the issues.

The hearings are scheduled de novo, which means that any information previously provided will not be considered. All evidence that an employer believes is relevant to the issue must be provided at the hearing. This is the last guaranteed opportunity to submit any new evidence or testimony.

The burden of proof always falls on the party who initiated the separation. However, an employer must be prepared to rebut the claimant’s evidence if the claimant alleges he/she quit for work related reasons. It is recommended that employers discuss the issue(s) in depth with a hearings consultant prior to the hearing.

Tip: Review the hearing notice carefully to determine if the hearing is scheduled to be held via conference call or in person and plan accordingly.

Hearing Process

  1. The hearing officer begins by explaining the reason for the hearing and procedures to be followed
  2. The order in which individuals will testify and the rights of cross-examination and rebuttal will be explainedThe party who initiated the claimant’s separation will present first
  3. The testimony is tape recorded in case of further appeal
  4. The employer is given the opportunity to speak again after the claimant’s testimony
  5. Each party may cross-examine the other party’s witnesses
    Each side may offer a closing statement after all the facts and information have been given
  6. The hearing officer then concludes the hearing and states that all testimony and evidence will be considered
  7. All interested parties are notified of the decision by mail
  8. If the claimant gives an explanation the employer hasn’t heard before, and additional witnesses or documentation is needed, a request can be made that the hearing be adjourned and continued later.
  9. Arrive at the location early and report to the receptionist
  10. Take the hearing notice and proper identification
  11. Take the original and two copies of all documents that will be
    presented as evidence
  12. Ask for clarification if a question is not fully understood
  13. Answer questions with facts, not conclusions
  14. Answer only the question that was actually asked
  15. Refrain from asking questions that have already been askedGive the hearing officer the facts used to come to the conclusion that the claimant did what is being alleged. For example, “The claimant was discharged for misconduct” is the conclusion the hearing officer needs to make. “The claimant was discharged for stealing $50 from the till” is a statement of fact that the hearing officer can use to find misconduct.
  16. Think about each question before answering and keep answers simple
  17. For every record introduced as evidence, have an individual present who can testify regarding how the records were prepared and vouch for their authenticity
  18. Use leading questions, so that they require a “yes” or “no” answer
  19. Tell the truth and do not guess at answers; use phrases such as “approximately” or “in my estimation” if you do not have exact info
  20. Avoid using extreme statements such as “never” and “always”
  21. If the claimant gives testimony that is different from what he/she has stated at the time of separation or to the state prior to the hearing, ask why the story has changed and point out the differences.
  22. If part of the claimant’s new story involves someone who is not present at the hearing, ask the hearing officer for a postponement so new witnesses can be brought in to testify under oath. Be sure that the hearing officer knows that it was unforeseeable that new witnesses would be necessary.

Telephone Hearings

The proceedings for a telephone hearing are the same as in-person hearings, with the following exceptions:

  • The evidence must be sent to the hearing officer and the claimant prior to the hearing date
  • The claimant must also send the employer a copy of documents to be considered as evidence
  • Any documents provided to the claimant should be sent by mail at least a week prior to hearing
  • If a copy introduced as evidence was not received, an objection to its admission can be made

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