With the new unemployment laws defining “misconduct” in Missouri1 and other states, the number of unemployment benefits denials is expected to increase as more employers allege that employees were fired for misconduct and are, therefore, not eligible for benefits. While these laws are important to protect employers from having to pay increased taxes for employees who do not truly deserve benefits, it also increases the chances that employees may wrongfully be denied benefits via allegations of misconduct.
In such cases, former employees should know that an immediate denial is not the final say in their ineligibility for benefits. If they truly believe they should qualify, there is an unemployment appeals process. This process must be carefully followed with all requirements met, however, so it is imperative to seek assistance from an experienced unemployment attorney if you have received a denial.
What to do after a denial
If you disagree with the Deputy’s decision to issue a denial, you have 30 days to file a letter requesting an appeal,2 which is your first appeal. Conversely, if you have been approved for benefits and your employer disagrees, your employer also has 30 days to request a first appeal. Your appeal letter should contain certain information depending on the circumstances of your case but you should be extremely careful what you say because anything in your letter may later be used against you. For this reason, a skilled unemployment lawyer should always assist in the drafting of the appeal request.
Soon after, a hearing will take place either by phone or in person and you have the right to legal representation at this hearing. Though these hearings seem relatively informal, you should always be careful of how you act and what you say. Based on what you and your employer say in the hearing, an unemployment judge (also known as a referee) will issue a decision whether or not to overturn the Deputy’s decision. If you then disagree with the referee’s decision, you can request a second appeal, which we will discuss in a later post.
An experienced St. Louis and St. Charles unemployment attorney can help
Attorney Kenneth Carp has extensive experience representing both employers and former employees at unemployment hearings. If you believe you need to appeal a denial, do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp at 636-947-3600 today.