Generally, you are entitled to unemployment benefits if your employment was terminated for reasons other than "misconduct" as that term is defined by statute, or if you resigned your employment for good cause attributable to your employer. Employers sometimes wrongly take the position that employees engaged in "misconduct" or resigned for "personal reasons" to try to prevent a former employee from obtaining unemployment benefits.
If the claims adjudicator has denied your claim, and you believe you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits, file an Appeal immediately, and a Referee will be assigned to hear your case. You only have 20 days from the Notice of Determination to file your appeal, and if you are late you forfeit your rights to unemployment benefits.
If your employer is wrongly appealing your claim, do not go to the hearing unrepresented. The stakes are high, as you may be forced to pay back all of the unemployment compensation you received.
The Unemployment Appeals hearing is an adversarial proceeding done over the telephone, wherein the Referee will examine you, the employer's witnesses, and the available evidence. Importantly, during the Unemployment Appeals hearing, you will also be given the opportunity to examine your employer's witnesses, and the employer's representative will be given the opportunity to examine you. You can offer witnesses, documentary evidence, legal and/or factual reasons as to why you are entitled to receive benefits, and make a closing statement. The employer will have all of these same opportunities to try to block your claim.
The Unemployment Appeals hearing before the Appeals Referee is generally the most critical step in the process. In most instances, this will be the only opportunity you have to introduce evidence to prove your case.
Florida Unemployment Compensation law is highly complex, and the penalty for failing to navigate the law correctly may be a denial of your benefits. Do not try to go through the process alone. Consult with an attorney experienced in handling Florida Unemployment Appeals immediately upon receipt of an adverse Notice of Determination or a Notice of Hearing.
Weldon & Rothman, PL handles unemployment appeals throughout Florida. You can find more information about me and my law firm on my AVVO profile.