California EDD denied my claim for unemployment. How much information should I include in my letter of appeal (first level)?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Santa Rosa, CA

I was working full time for a vet hospital. My first review was good. Within 3 months I was fired. I have been diagnosed with severe depression, recurrent and anxiety disorder before starting this job. I was in an abusive marriage that was on the rocks. I started having anxiety attacks and my performance did suffer. I explained this to my superior to no avail. I was given "memo's" of their concerns. Never termed "warning" and no clear protocol for discipline was ever made clear either verbally or in writing. My marriage became so volatile I had to leave, I notified my boss a day in advance, 2 times in that last week, that I could not come in so I could pack and get out. He told EDD I missed work without permission. Do I have an argument?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20

    4

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . California law protects workers who are victims of domestic violence in a number of ways so you have a good chance to win your unemployment appeal, even in addition to the general unemployment eligibility requirements. Details about eligibility for unemployment benefits can be found on the California Employment Development Department (EDD) web site: http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/FAQ_-_Eligib...

    Under law, an eligible claimant is entitled to unemployment benefits UNLESS she either (1) was fired for misconduct or (2) quit work without cause. In your case, the issue will be whether you were fired for misconduct (at the bottom of your Notice, it should refer to Unemployment Code section 1256).

    Your employer has the burden of proof to show that you engaged in misconduct (an intentional act against the interest of the employer) when you missed work. Escaping from domestic violence is not misconduct and California law even allows an employee to notify the employer after the fact that an absence was necessary due to domestic violence. If the employee needs to attend to legal matters related to domestic violence, Labor Code sections 230(c) et seq. may help. (see link below).

    ---> In addition, Labor Code 230.1(a)(4) allows an employee who works for an employer with at least 25 employees to take time off from work to move.

    The Notice of Determination stating your claim was denied includes information about the appeal. You MUST file your appeal within 20 days of the date stated in that letter. Do not miss the deadline.

    In the appeal, make a brief statement just one or two lines long saying why you believe the denial was incorrect. Save your detailed argument and evidence for the hearing. For example:" I notified my employer in advance I had to move to escape domestic violence."

    In a few weeks, you will receive a notice of an appeals hearing with the date, time and location. At the hearing, be prepared with as much evidence as possible (cell phone record showing the 7:38 a.m. call, witnesses who overheard the boss yelling, etc.). You should also know the law the administrative law judge will consider. You can get a lot of helpful information on the EDD website.

    Home page
    http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/

    Eligibility requirements
    http://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/Eligibility.htm

    Summaries of the law (Benefit Determination Guide)
    http://www.edd.ca.gov/UIBDG/

    Appeals
    http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/FAQ_-_Appeal...

    Precedent Decisions (law the administrative law judges rely on)
    http://www.cuiab.ca.gov/precedent_decisions.shtm

    Frequently asked questions
    http://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/FAQs.htm

    Filing a claim for unemployment benefits
    http://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/Filing_a_Cla...

    You can be represented by anyone at the hearing. If your appeal will be difficult or you are uncomfortable speaking, you may wish to retain an attorney to help you prepare or to represent you at the hearing. For training, expect the attorney to need approximately three hours. For representation at the hearing, expect the attorney to need three to seven hours to prepare, depending on the complexity of the case, witnesses, documents and other evidence, and allow two hours for the hearing itself. Unemployment hearings usually last one hour or less, but you must arrive early to look at the file, and there is a possibility you will have to wait past your hearing time if the previous case has not finished.

    (continued in Comment below)

    twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the... more
  2. David Andrew Mallen

    Contributor Level 14

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Under the circumstances, I recommend that you have an experienced lawyer by your side to present your best possible case and help you give your best testimony. EDD Judges are very busy and would probably appreciate having a lawyer present the facts in the best possible light for you.

    I hope your outlook improves.

    Best regards,

    David Mallen

    David A. Mallen offers answers on Avvo for general information only. This offer of free, general answers is not... more
  3. Arkady Igor Itkin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . Hello,

    You are asking a very good question. You should not include a lot of information in your appeal letter and it should be short and to the point; Something like: "I believe I was wrongly denied benefits because I was not terminated for misconduct and I hereby request an appeal hearing" is enough.
    It might well worth it for you to be represented at a hearing or at the very least consult with an attorney before the hearing to make sure that you understand how the process works, how to put your best foot forward and maximize your chances of winning. Since you quit, you will have to show that you had compelling, substantial reasons for quitting, and an attorney should be able to help you present the claim properly.

    Thanks,

    Arkady Itkin
    San Francisco & Sacramento Employment Lawyer
    (415) 640-6765 (mobile).

  4. Herbert J Tan

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . Your leaving work was personal in nature and disqualifies you from UI benefits.

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