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 Sivinski 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 Sivinski 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.
Sivinski 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.
Termination based on anonymous witness statements is without just cause: Hearing officer agreed that employer could not show just cause to terminate when it relied solely upon anonymous witness statements. (Benefits Approved 8/16/2017)
No Just Cause to Terminate for Attendance: The hearing officer agreed that the Employer did not show sufficient tardies to justify termination and it had told the employee instead that he was terminated due to a lack of work. (Benefits Approved 8/3/2017)
Resignation at Advise of Psychiatrist is With Cause: Employee who resigned due to the impact of her job on her mental illness was eligible for unemployment compensation. (Benefits Approved 7/28/2017)
Employee Error Did Not Warrant Termination: Employer lacked just cause to terminate an employee who was given unreasonable expectations. (Benefits Approved 7/7/2017)
Allegations of Falsification of Records Not Substantiated: Sivinski Law Offices showed that the employee followed the normal practice and had permission to adjust records. (Benefits Approved 6/27/2017)
No Just Cause to Terminate Employee Absent Due to Daughter's Medical Reasons: Employer lacked just cause to terminate employee with significant absences because it failed to give any progressive discipline and absences were due to daughter's bona fide illness. (Benefits Approved 6/22/2017)
Job Requirements Changed Substantially After Hiring.: Employee accused of failing to meet job expectations approved for benefits, including nearly $7,000 in back-payments, because the job substantially changed. (Benefits Approved 6/20/2017)
Showed Employer Lacked Just Cause to Terminate: It was shown that the employer lacked sufficient proof to terminate an employee for hanging up on a customer. (Benefits Approved 6/8/2017)
Employee Had Just Cause to Resign: Employee who was put on light duty had just cause to resign when the employer offered not positions that would conform to the light duty requirements. (Benefits Approved 6/2/2017)
Management Delays Do Not Justify Terminating Employee: We showed that accusations that employee was terminated because projects were delayed were insufficient for just cause because the delays were due to management rather than the employee. (Benefits Approved 5/19/2017)
Venting About Discipline is Not Just Cause to Terminate: Employer who terminated employee for closing their office door and venting to a friend and co-worker about being put on a performance improvement plan did not have just cause for the termination. (Benefits Approved 5/18/2017)
Rules Must Be Applied Reasonably: Although the hearing officer concluded that the employee violated a rule, we were able to convince her that the rule was not applied reasonably and that the termination without prior discipline was without just cause. (Benefits Approved 5/17/2017)
Employee's Reasonable Deviations from Policies Not Just Cause to Terminate: Employer who left employee short staffed lacked just cause to terminate the employee for deviations from policy when those deviations were reasonable and did not cause any harm to the employer. (Benefits Approved 5/8/2017)
Sivinski 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 Sivinski 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, Sivinski 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