...which, per the docket information it states that "the appelant's failure to appear will result in a Default". What I am concerned about is that the judge still heard my case (45 minutes worth), asked very detailed questions which I answered as honestly as I could - this was a case in which I was forced to quit due to sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, retaliation, and a radical change in my job description - and the judge stated that she would have an answer as soon as possible.
Others are telling me that a default means that it's automatically in my favor, but I'm concerned that with the 45 minute hearing, it won't go in my favor.
What are my chances it will be in my favor?
The past 14 weeks have made me somewhat jaded, cynical and cautious.
Real Estate Attorney
A default means that the other side cannot appear and argue their case. It does not mean that the court can rule in your favor without evidence. It sounds like judge was being thorough and wanted to make a ruling in your favor that would have some teeth. You should win based on facts given.
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Family Law Attorney
The judge has the obligation in a hearing for unemployment compensation to establish that your reasons for leaving work do not disqualify you from receiving compensation, and that you are able to work, available for work, and seeking work. (The other interested party in this matter, besides your employer, is the State of Washington).
You're probably okay, but if the decision is not in your favor, you can appeal. In this particular case, the appeal will rely heavily on interpretation of the law regarding when you can voluntarily leave your position and still qualify for unemployment, and so if any appeal is necessary, you may want to get an attorney's help. If you cannot afford an attorney, and an appeal is necessary, the Unemployment Law Project may be able to help you.
Susan is right, you are probably ok. The judge needs to establish that you actually have a claim. You cannot simply raise a claim fraudulently and default your former employer to get a favoring verdict. The judge is simply doing its fact-checking to ensure that you have a claim.
The benefit of their default is that they are unable to raise a defense. Thus, they are unable to oppose your argument in front of the judge. This is very good news for you.
If you end up losing, you can appeal. If you have to appeal I would certainly seek the counsel of an attorney.