Helpful Tips for Preparing for a UI Appeals Hearing

File your appeal on time. An appeal to an administrative law judge (ALJ) must be filed within 20 days of the mailing date. The final mailing date is on the Notice of Determination or Ruling. The appeal is considered late if filed after 20 days.

If you file your appeal after the deadline, you must have good cause for failing to file within the time limit. Good cause generally means you were prevented from making the deadline by circumstances beyond your control and which could not have been reasonably anticipated. If you submit your appeal late, the appeal will still be processed but at the appeal hearing you must be prepared to explain to the ALJ why the appeal is late.

The law requires that the appeal must be in writing. You may use the Employment Development Department Appeal Form, DE 1000M, that is included with the Notice of Determination or Ruling to submit your appeal. This form is also available on the EDD Web site. However, it is not necessary to use this form to appeal. If you decide to mail a letter of appeal, you may write a letter stating your wish to appeal. Be sure and include the claimant’s social security number, your name, address, and telephone number on any correspondence you submit.

Prepare your case before the hearing. Review necessary documents and records and interview witnesses. Prepare for the hearing even if the other side is appealing. You may review the EDD’s appeal file by visiting the Office of Appeal to which the hearing has been assigned. You should contact the Office of Appeals to determine the best time to review the documents.

Examine the Notice to Hearing which has the time and date of the hearing and the issues that will be covered in the hearing. If there is more than one issue on the hearing notice, be prepared for each issue. The Notice to Hearing will be mailed to you.

Make early requests to the Office of Appeals to postpone the hearing date or subpoena witnesses whose attendance you cannot control.

Show up on time to the hearing.

If possible, have witnesses with first-hand knowledge attend the hearing. It is always better to present first-hand testimony rather than hearsay information.

Present key documents such as personnel records or time cards. If there are several documents, it’s best to prepare a written summary with necessary information such as the dates the claimant was absent, the time and date claimant called the employer, the reason claimant gave for absence, and any warnings issued, including dates and reasons for warnings.

In discharge cases, the burden is on the employer to prove that there was willful misconduct on the claimant’s part. If the claimant quit, the burden is on the claimant to show that he/she left his or her employment for compelling reasons.

At the appeal hearing, if you need to say something, do so at the appropriate time. The ALJ will allow time for each party to present evidence and will allow each party the opportunity to make a closing statement. The ALJ will make the decision based on facts presented at the hearing. Once the hearing is closed, generally you will not be allowed to offer additional evidence.

The ALJ will issue the decision in writing. If you receive an unfavorable decision, you may file an appeal with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. The Appeals board will review all of the evidence and issue a written decision. (There will not be another hearing; the Board will review the evidence presented at the hearing.) If the Board believes the ALJ the decision will be reversed or modified. The Board appeal must be filed within 20 days in order to be timely.

For more detailed information click on: 27 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Unemployment Appeal.