Ohio Unemployment Hearings:
What to Expect

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.

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Improve Your Chance to Obtain Benefits

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.

Hearing Notice

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.

Requesting File

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

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.

Submitting Exhibits

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.

Scheduling

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.

The Hearing

Calling In

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.

Witnesses

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.

Closing Statements

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.

The Decision

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.

Do not take chances.

 

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.

Obtaining Representation

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.

RECENT CASES/NEWS

No just cause to terminate for a providing insufficient sample for drug test: The employer had a policy that required random testing during work hours. Our client was selected, scheduled to take a test within a half-hour of her shift ending, provided a sample that was insufficient, and had to leave due to prior commitments. In this case, the Hearing Officer agreed that the policy was not applied reasonably and therefore the employer lacked just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 8/9/2018.

Employer lacked just cause to terminate an employee who was attacked by a co-worker: The Hearing Officer agreed that our client who was attacked by a co-worker did not instigate the altercation and merely protected herself. Unemployment Appeal Won 8/8/2018.

Employers should follow their own discipline policies: The Hearing Officer agreed that an employer who skipped steps in its progressive discipline policy did not have just cause to terminate our client. Unemployment Appeal Won 7/30/2018.

Absences due to circumstances beyond employee’s control are not just cause for termination: The Hearing Officer agreed that an employee’s absences due to his ailing wife or because of his own illness were circumstances beyond the employee’s control and did not give the employer just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 7/13/2018.

Employer lacked just cause to terminate for sleeping on the job and for excessive use of his cell phone: The Hearing Officer concluded that the employer failed to provide sufficient evidence that it followed its progressive discipline policy and that the employee actually violated a policy. Unemployment Appeal Won 7/12/2018.

Hearsay and unsubstantiated testimony and evidence insufficient: The Hearing Officer agreed that the employer failed to present sufficient evidence of misconduct in light of the employee’s credible testimony denying misconduct. Unemployment Appeal Won 6/6/2018.

Employer did not have just cause to terminate employee who it failed to train and failed to provide notice of performance issues: The employer hired our client but failed to provide any training for how to do their job and failed to provide timely notice of their mistakes until they were terminated. The Hearing Officer agreed that they lacked just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 6/5/2018.

Employee who was terminated after they gave a resignation notice is approved: The Employee resigned with a two-day notice, the employer sent the employee home and did not pay them for the remaining two days. The Hearing Officer agreed that this should be looked at as a termination rather than a resignation, and there was not just cause to terminate. Unemployment Appeal Won 5/14/2018.

Hearsay evidence and unsubstantiated evidence insufficient to prove just case: Attending the hearing fully prepared, we persuaded the hearing officer that the employer’s reliance on hearsay and unsubstantiated evidence of our client being insubordinate was insufficient, especially in light of our client’s credible testimony. Unemployment Appeal Won 5/10/2018.

No Upfront Fees

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.

 

Statewide Representation

 

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.

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The Law Offices of

Brian J. Smith, ltd.

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Phone: 800-641-1970

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contact@sshllc.com

 

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The Law Offices of Brian J. Smith, ltd. provides legal services throughout Ohio, from Cleveland to Toledo, including Sandusky, Akron, Vermilion, Huron, Elyria, Lorain, Port Clinton, Rocky River, Parma, Oak Harbor, Norwalk, Milan, Amherst, Sheffield, Avon, Oberlin, North Ridgeville, North Olmsted, Bay Village, Westlake, Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, Brook Park, Strongsville, Garfield Heights, Euclid, Medina, Maple Heights, Bellevue, Clyde and Berea, and within counties such as Cuyahoga, Lorain, Erie, Ottawa, Lucas, Portage, Sandusky, Seneca, Huron, Medina, Summit, Portage, Geauga County, Lake, Ashtabula.

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Updated October 2018

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John Sivinski Top Attorney
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Superb Litigation Attorneys
National Lawyers Guild
DUI Defense Lawyers Association
Parma Bar Association
Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - OACDL
Ohio State Bar Association - OSBA
Lorain County Bar Association
National College for DUI Defense
Cleveland Metro Bar Association - CMBA
West Shore Bar Association - WSBA
Ohio Employment Lawyers Association - OELA
American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys
John A. Sivinski, AV Preeminent Attorney
John A. Sivinski, Million Dollar Advocate
Ohio State Bar Association - OSBA
National Lawyers Guild
Ohio Employment Lawyers Association - OELA
American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys
Parma Bar Association
Lorain County Bar Association
Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - OACDL
National College for DUI Defense
DUI Defense Lawyers Association
Cleveland Metro Bar Association - CMBA
West Shore Bar Association - WSBA
DUI Defense Lawyers Association
American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys
National College for DUI Defense
Cleveland Metro Bar Association - CMBA
Ohio State Bar Association - OSBA
Lorain County Bar Association
Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - OACDL
Ohio Employment Lawyers Association - OELA
West Shore Bar Association - WSBA
John Sivinski Top Attorney
Cleveland Metro Bar Association - CMBA
National College for DUI Defense
DUI Defense Lawyers Association
West Shore Bar Association - WSBA
Ohio State Bar Association - OSBA
Lorain County Bar Association
Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - OACDL
Ohio Employment Lawyers Association - OELA
Superb Litigation Attorneys
American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys
Parma Bar Association
Clients Choice Criminal Defense Attorneys
John A. Sivinski, AV Preeminent Attorney
John A. Sivinski, Million Dollar Advocate
Catholic Attorneys
National Lawyers Guild
John Sivinski Top Attorney
Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - OACDL
Ohio Employment Lawyers Association - OELA
Ohio State Bar Association - OSBA
Cleveland Metro Bar Association - CMBA
National College for DUI Defense
DUI Defense Lawyers Association
West Shore Bar Association - WSBA
Superb Litigation Attorneys
Clients Choice Criminal Defense Attorneys
American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys
National Lawyers Guild
Parma Bar Association
John A. Sivinski, AV Preeminent Attorney
John A. Sivinski, Million Dollar Advocate
Catholic Attorneys