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March 31, 2010
How Unemployment Benefit Hearings Work

In a 2010 BLR webinar entitled "Unemployment Taxes and Claims: How to Reduce Your Costs and Effectively Contest Claims," Ronald Adler, president and CEO of Laurdan Associates, Inc., outlined the basics of unemployment benefit hearings.

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"Generally, both you—as the employer—and your former employees have the right to appeal any adverse eligibility determinations," Adler said. "In some cases, former workers may appeal the denial of benefits; in other cases, you may appeal rulings in which former workers were given benefits over your objections. These appeals usually involve hearings."

Unemployment hearings may be held in person or by phone. The statements given by both your former worker(s) and you may be recorded, and you may be placed under oath. So, you should be ready to present your evidence contesting the claim in a concise, clear manner. Start by reading the hearing notice carefully, and follow the rules closely (you may need to submit records in advance or list witnesses who will be speaking to support your case). Think about involving witnesses on your side who can speak firsthand about the reasons for the former worker’s departure.

If you lose the first hearing, you can appeal in most states to a second level (an appeals tribunal), and you can go beyond that into court if you wish.

Ronald Adler is president and CEO of Laurdan Associates, Inc., a human resources management consulting firm specializing in unemployment insurance audits, consulting, research and expert witness testimony. Contact him at

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