Your Unemployment Hearing is the most important stage of the unemployment compensation appeal process. In all likelihood, it will be the final decision regarding your unemployment compensation. No further hearings, and no further evidence, will be permitted after your unemployment hearing. Here is an overview of what to expect during your unemployment hearing to help you be fully prepared.
The unemployment benefit appeal process does provide opportunities to obtain a determination in your favor, but you must have knowledge of the laws, the rules, and have the required tools to obtain and present evidence on your behalf.
The fact is, ODJFS does not operate based on what you know to be true, unless that truth can be shown to them, proven to them, and explained in a way that they can understand that Ohio statutes and rules require them to give you benefits.
The Ohio Unemployment Lawyers at Smith's Law Offices have the expertise and experience to navigate through the Unemployment Appeal process and to present the best case possible to obtain the benefits you deserve. It is a simple decision: If you want to increase your chances of obtaining benefits, take advantage of a free consultation with the Ohio Unemployment Lawyers at Smith's Law Offices.
If your unemployment claim proceeds to a hearing, you will receive a notice that the case is being transferred to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC). This notice provides important information about your hearing, including (a) how to request your file; (b) how to subpoena witnesses and documents; and (c) how to submit documents for the hearing.
This is important, because the file will include more than the notices you have received, but also everything that has been submitted to ODJFS by you and your former employer, as well as responses to questionnaires, notes of telephone conversations with ODJFS, and perhaps a more detailed explanation of why ODJFS is making the decisions that it is. Additionally, the Hearing Officer will have this file and may refer to it during the hearing, so you will want to have it to follow what is being referred to. Request your file immediately.
Subpoenas can compel witnesses to attend the hearing and can be used to obtain documents from your former employer. If there is a witness or document that you KNOW will help you, this is a valuable tool. However, do not use it to fish. Whatever documents you subpoena will be provided to the Hearing Officer, so if you are uncertain whether they will help you, you take a risk by requesting them. Also, be careful when deciding whether to have current employees as witnesses, because they may become concerned about their own job security and clam up during the actual hearing while their boss is on the line. Subpoenas can be requested up to 5 days before the hearing, but they should be requested as early as possible.
If you have already submitted documents, they will already be included in the file. However, if you have other documents that you want to submit, follow the instructions to do so. You may do so up within 14 days of receiving this notice.
Once your ODJFS file is transferred to the UCRC and they schedule your hearing, you will receive another notice with the date and time of the hearing and the telephone number to call. Do NOT miss your hearing, as there are only very limited reasons ODJFS will excuse your failure to attend.
You may request to hold the hearing in person. Generally, this should only be done when there is an important reason to do so. For example, the case may depend upon a video or visual exhibit that all parties should view together.
On the day of your hearing, call in 15 minutes early. You will provide your name and number. Once the Hearing Officer is ready to begin, she will call you and all other parties and place you into a conference call. The Hearing Officer will begin the hearing with a brief introduction. The hearing will be scheduled for 45 minutes, and the Hearing Officer will do what she can to keep it within that time limit. However, if it needs to run over it may be scheduled for a second hearing.
In most cases, if you were terminated, the Hearing Officer will start with the employer and their witnesses. If you resigned, the Hearing Officer will start with you instead. Based on what she sees in the file, she will ask each witness questions. The witness will then be given the opportunity to add more, or if they are represented their representative will ask them further questions. The other side will then be given the opportunity to cross examine each witness.
At the end of the hearing, each party will be given a brief amount of time (e.g., 2 minutes) to give a closing statement – summarizing their position.
You will not receive a decision on the day of the hearing. Rather, the Hearing Officer will close the hearing and draft their decision. In most cases, we find decisions are issued within a week, though it is not unusual for it to take a few weeks for the decision to be issued.
If you have recently quit or been fired from an employer and are just starting the unemployment compensation process, make sure you understand the law or are working with someone who does.
Smith's Law Offices prides itself by its thorough representation during hearings. We take care of requesting the hearing, requesting a copy of the ODJFS file, making strategic decisions about subpoenas and witnesses and request them when appropriate, and we submit exhibits in the proper format for the hearing. We review the evidence, talk with you, and come to decisions about what are the main issues, what are the main points in contention, and what the Hearing Officer needs to be convinced of to rule in your favor. We give you guidance regarding how to conduct yourself during the hearing and we call into the hearing with you – so we may cross examine the employer’s witnesses, help you to explain your position to the hearing officer, and we provide the closing statement. By becoming fully prepared for the hearing, and focusing on the important issues, you will find yourself comfortable and able to have your case presented in a compelling manner that will increase your likelihood of success.
Moving to a closer seat during a meeting is not violent behavior: Employer alleged that our client made them feel intimidate, although it presented evidence of what our client did other that to move to a closer seat during a meeting. The employer lacked just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 3/1/2018.
Termination for being on worker’s comp. leave without a release to return to work lacks just cause: Our client was off of work on a worker’s compensation leave, having been examined by the employer’s doctor and not given a release to return to work. The employer lacked just cause to terminate the employee for being absent without authorization. Unemployment Appeal Won 2/26/2018.
Termination for failing to meet substantially changed duties lacks just cause: The employer gave our client new duties to complete and then terminate our client for failing to complete those duties adequately. Because there had been a substantial change in the requirements for the position, the employer lacked just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 2/26/2018.
Termination for doing what you are told is without just cause: Our client was sent to observe another employee, found the employee dressed inappropriately, took a photo that she shared with her supervisor, and was then terminated for taking the photo. The Hearing Officer agreed that this was not just cause for termination. Unemployment Appeal Won 2/22/2018.
Employer mistakenly believed employee was taking extended breaks: We persuaded the Hearing Officer that the employer was mistaken when it accused our client of taking extended breaks and as a result it was held that the employer lacked just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 12/22/2017.
Requesting help is not insubordination: The employer terminated our client believing he engage in insubordination when he asked for additional help, but the Hearing Officer agreed that the request was not insubordination an therefore the employer lacked just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 12/22/2017.
Employer lacked just cause to terminate employee for being rude: The hearing officer agreed that the employer failed to show that the employee was rude during an informal meeting over a cup of coffee, and thus the employer lacked just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 12/18/2017.
Employer with unclear job expectations lacked just cause to terminate: The hearing officer agreed that the employer did not have just cause to terminate when it did not provide details about purported areas of concern and it was unclear about what it was expecting of the employee. Unemployment Appeal Won 12/12/2017
Not all mistakes warrant termination: Due to a lack of training, and employee who made a mistake at work was terminated without just cause. Unemployment Appeal Won 12/11/2017.
Facebook posts do not give just cause to terminate: Employer did not have just cause to terminate an employee for his personal social media posts when they were posted from home, were not work related, and did not mention the employer. Unemployment Appeal Won 12/5/2017.
Smith's Law Offices offers Free Initial Consultations. We additionally offer contingency agreements whenever possible, with no up-front fee. We collect a fee ONLY if we are successful in obtaining unemployment benefits that are owed to you. We also offer flat fees and hourly rates when a contingency fee agreement is not appropriate.
Our goal is always to provide you with high quality representation to protect your rights. You have nothing to risk or lose by calling the Ohio Unemployment Attorneys at Smith's Law Offices for your free consultation, so call us today before any of your unemployment appeal rights are lost.
Because unemployment determinations are appealed in writing, and the hearings are conducted by telephone, Smith's Law Offices successfully represents clients throughout the State of Ohio.
20545 Center Ridge Rd.
Rocky River, OH 44116
Satellite Office Locations:
Port Clinton, Ohio
South Euclid, Ohio