i have been collecting unemployment for two months and my former employer is now appealing the decision and does not want to pay unemployment benefits
Unemployment benefits are paid by the State and it is the state that makes a determination. It is not unusual for employers to appeal grants because if their accounts are charged for the benefits, their unemployment taxes may increase. In fact, there are companies that specialize in these types of appeals and they are making brisk business with employers that hire these companies to contest unemployment claims. Many times there is no basis for the appeal but they appeal nevertheless to see if the employee does not show for a hearing, for example, in which case they will win. You should appeal any denial, and fight any appeal that the employer has. Generally, if you were discharged and it was not for misconduct ( ex: stealing clear case of misconduct), or if you were laid off, you should be entitled to benefits. Make sure that you get representation for any hearing you may have, usually there is one initial hearing where you can ask questions and crossexamine the employer's witnesses, and everything that happens after that hearing is based on the evidence that was introduced in that hearing. In other words, that hearing may be the only chance you have to present your case and attack the employer's case. You should seek legal counsel in your state.
You will have a telephone hearing scheduled with an Administrative Law Judge over the phone. Your employer will first present evidence about why you were fired. You will have a chance to question the witness(es). Then you will present your testimony about why you were fired. The judge will ask questions throughout. The last part involved you giving a closing statement.
I have represented many employees in these hearings. They typically focus on whether you engaged in Misconduct. In Kansas, Misconduct is defined as breaching a duty to your employer. However, the statute also says that things like ordinary negligence or a one time lapse of judgement are not Misconduct and are not enough to bar you from receiving unemployment. You might consider speaking with an attorney to see if this is an issue that you may need representation for. We normally file a brief outlining the statute and why our client should not be barred from Unemployment Benefits because for example they were just negligent the one time. If you have an attorney representing you, they will be able to cross examine the witnesses and lead you through your testimony.
For more information what the appeal will be like you can check out my legal guide on the topic here. http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-to-expect-when-appealing-denial-of-unemployment-compensation-benefits
Angela Y. Madathil - Unemployment Employment Attorney in Wichita, Kansas
This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice.
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