If you have been recently fired from a job and filed an unemployment claim, you may think that you at least have the silver lining of not needing to deal with your previous place of employment anymore. Unfortunately, your former employer can choose to contest your unemployment claim, denying you access to benefits. But what can you do if your employer chooses to contest your unemployment claim?
- Be able to explain why it was you lost your job
- A key question in any unemployment claim is how, exactly, you lost your job. If you were fired due to mass layoffs, budgets cuts, or business reorganization, you will likely be able to claim unemployment benefits. If, on the other hand, you were fired for some kind of misconduct, such as failing to perform job duties, being habitually late, or engaging in drinking or drug use on the job, you will likely have trouble getting unemployment benefits.
- Understand the difference between firing and resignation
- It is also critical to understand the difference between being fired and resigning. A firing is when your job is terminated by your employer, while a resignation means losing your job due to voluntarily quitting. This is important because, in most cases, you can not claim unemployment benefits if you resigned from your job. However, if you were forced to resign rather than being fired, you may still qualify.
- Hire a lawyer
- A part of obtaining unemployment benefits involves going to an unemployment hearing where your former employer will be present. While you technically do not need a lawyer for this hearing, it is rare that an employer will come to a hearing without legal representation. If you fail to hire a lawyer to help with your unemployment case, you are only hurting yourself.
- Be ready for a fight
- The primary reason that your employer is present at your unemployment hearing is because their insurance goes up when you file an unemployment claim. It is thus in their best interest to fight your claim and prevent you from getting benefits, because that helps to save them money. You need to be ready to fight in turn, if you want to be able to obtain the benefits you deserve.
- Review your employment contract and employee manual
- One of the most critical issues that is likely to arise has to do with the terms of your employment, as well as your company’s employment policies. If you have an employment contract, you should review its terms, which can help give you a defense against firing. You should also review your company’s handbook and employment policies, since getting fired against policy can be a defense in your favor.
Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.