Unemployment Hearings: Telephone Hearing Tips
Unemployment Hearings: Telephone Hearing Tips

Unemployment Hearings: Telephone Hearing Tips

From the HR Pros of the HR Support Center

We speak with many employers who are shocked after they experience their first unemployment telephone hearing. In general, they report feeling unprepared for the formality of the proceeding, and overwhelmed by the legal procedures to which they were required to adhere. So to help you prepare, you may either watch an excessive amount of Law & Order reruns, or you may follow these tips:

Preparing for the telephone hearing:
# Carefully read the notice regarding the hearing, and review the laws in your state to determine what you are attempting to demonstrate to the Officer. Unemployment eligibility varies by state law, and it is important to understand what you must prove in order to disqualify the former employee from eligibility for unemployment benefits.
# Submit all supporting documentation prior to the deadline. This may include disciplinary actions, handbook policies, performance reviews, the handbook acknowledgement form, witness statements, customer/client complaints, etc.
# Subpoena witnesses before the deadline. The relevant laws in most states will not allow “hearsay” evidence to be presented. If another employee or manager has relevant first-hand information, you must subpoena the witness using the state’s procedure. If on a telephone hearing call, you begin your sentence by stating, “the Operations Manager told me that,” you will most likely be cut off as this will be considered hearsay evidence and inadmissible.
# 4Prepare questions for witnesses and the claimant in advance. Ensure that these questions are designed to illustrate exactly what you are attempting to prove based on state law.
# Prepare your witnesses. Provide your witnesses with a list of questions that you will be asking them, and encourage them to be honest and professional in their responses.
# Prepare a brief closing argument.

The day of the telephone hearing:
# Collect all of your supporting documentation and make it available for reference while you are on the call, including dates and details relating to the employee’s termination.
# Call in at least five minutes before the appointed time of the hearing. Ensure all of your witnesses are nearby, available and prepared to testify.
# Object to testimony that is irrelevant or hearsay.
# Focus on the reason for the discharge, not other performance problems. Employers often are tempted to explain the long history of the employee’s performance problems; however, the determination will be made almost exclusively based on the employee’s separation reason or “last straw.” While other warnings may be relevant and helpful to the case, it is important to paint a clear picture of the final termination reason.
# Be polite, professional and concise.
# Avoid industry jargon.

Remember, the burden of proof to demonstrate the employee’s ineligibility for unemployment benefits lies solely on the employer. Therefore, it is critically important to become familiar with your state’s laws regarding eligibility, and to ensure that employee policy violations, performance issues and misconduct are documented in writing.

We wish you success in your next unemployment hearing. Remember, if you disagree with the determination, continue to appeal the decision.

Want more helpful answers to your HR questions?

Subscribe to Paycor’s HR Support Center and find more HR resources and guides. Or, upgrade to HR On Demand to get personalized answers and advice from an HR professional. Contact us to learn more.

More to Discover

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Tips to Manage Employee Leave Scenarios

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Tips to Manage Employee Leave Scenarios

Coronavirus Response Act On March 18 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted to help individuals, families and businesses. The legislation requires employers with under 500 employees to give sick leave and paid family medical leave to eligible employees.Eligible businesses are now able to take advantage of new tax credits to offset the costs associated with paid emergency leave and sick leave benefits implemented under the bill, including credit for health plan expenses affiliated with the new leaves. Below is a list of scenarios your employees may experience during this time. Scenario 1 A full time employee is sick and believes they might have COVID-19. The employee is visiting a doctor to seek a medical diagnosis and...

Late Breaking News: Government Approves Remote I-9 Review Due to COVID-19

Late Breaking News: Government Approves Remote I-9 Review Due to COVID-19

Form I-9 Review: Key Details On Friday March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would relax its standards for I-9 document verification amid the coronavirus outbreak.Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being made at this time to review and verify documents in person. Remote Inspections Employers taking physical proximity precautions must inspect the physical documents...

Webinar: Coronavirus Response Act: What Business Leaders Need to Know

Webinar: Coronavirus Response Act: What Business Leaders Need to Know

In recent weeks the Coronavirus has grown from a crisis to a pandemic affecting small and medium businesses around the Nation. In response, the House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation to help businesses in the coming weeks and months. This legislation includes: • Families First Coronovirus Leave Act • Free COVID-19 Testing • Emergency FMLA Expansions • Tax credits for Businesses During this pandemic, it’s important that business leaders keep up with the latest information. Speaker: Katharine Weber Katharine C. Weber is a Principal in the Cincinnati, Ohio, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She has successfully assisted countless clients in handling their labor and employment issues in both Ohio and Kentucky. Additionally, Ms....

Executive Summary: 2020 March HR & Compliance Web Summit

Executive Summary: 2020 March HR & Compliance Web Summit

“This was the first webinar to ever make me cry (in a good way).”“Great session! Good information, relevant and easy to understand and follow.”“Best HR webinar I’ve ever heard.”This is just a sample of feedback from attendees at Paycor’s 2020 HR & Compliance Web Summit!During our 2-day event, industry experts like Josh Bersin offered actionable insights and advice on all things HR, from must-haves for small businesses to succeed to salary history bans and medical marijuana in the workplace.Did you miss any of the live sessions? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. You can watch them on our On-Demand Webinar page.In the meantime, check out our executive summary for a short overview. How to Help New Parents Re-enter the Workplace and...