Arizona Unemployment Appeal Hearing

Given the number of workers who faced unemployment during the pandemic, many of those individuals turned to the state’s unemployment insurance system.

One-way employers defend against unemployment claims is by filing an appeal stating that the employee should not be eligible for UI benefits.  One reason for that is because, for each former worker that received UI benefits, a company will receive a corresponding increase in their UI rating the following year (which can be a significant cost)! If an appeal is successful, the former worker may be required to pay back all their unemployment insurance benefits to the state and the company’s UI rating will not be impacted.

With so much at stake on both sides of these unemployment appeals hearings, here are ways to prepare for success.

1. Be Familiar with the Documents

The appeals office will most likely send you a packet of documents along with your hearing notice. Those documents will be pertaining to the issue(s) for the hearing and may include email threads, termination letters, and other documents produced by either party. Each document or set of documents will have an exhibit number.

At the start of the hearing, the administrative judge will go over each exhibit in the packet to ensure that the parties have all the documents. Throughout the hearing, the administrative judge will reference the exhibits and ask the parties questions. Make sure you address any missing exhibits with the administrative judge at the start of the hearing.

2. Have Witnesses

Parties in an unemployment appeal hearing are entitled to have witnesses. If you decide to have witnesses at the hearing, make sure they are familiar with the issues at hand and are prepared to answer any questions. Both sides will get to ask the witnesses questions. You should have a list of questions ready for your witness and review them with your witness ahead of time so that the witness won’t encounter any surprises on your end at the hearing.

Once you have asked your witness questions, the other side can then ask your witness questions. It is important to make notes about what is being asked so that if there is an issue or statement you want to counter, you can address it in your closing statement, which we will discuss more about below.

3. Answering and Asking Questions 

Regardless of whether there will be witnesses or not, the parties (the employee and the employer) will be questioned. The administrative judge will likely ask both sides questions in order to understand the case more. This is your chance to tell your side, so it is important to be clear and explanatory in your answers.

After the judge has asked the parties questions, then you will be granted the opportunity to ask the opposing party and any witnesses questions. You should already have prepared questions to go through, but make sure you don’t ask questions the judge may have already addressed. It is likely that new questions popped up in your thoughts during the judge’s questioning, which you should go ahead and ask, as long as it is relevant to the issue at hand. Because rules of evidence do not apply in administrative hearings, the only rule is that the questions are relevant.  

4. Closing Statement

The closing statement is your time to wrap up your points while also emphasizing your side. Be sure to start off your closing statement by thanking the judge for his or her time and the opportunity to represent your side in the appeal.

During the hearing, you should have made notes regarding the main points you want to address in your closing statement that you find were most valuable. Reference the exhibits as often as you can, since that is the only evidence there is that is being offered. Keep your closing statement brief (about 3-5 minutes) while also making sure everything you discuss is related to the issue on appeal.

Overall, preparation is key in order to succeed on an unemployment appeal hearing. Unemployment benefit appeals hearings are more informal than other court hearings. It is important that you know the issue(s) that is being appealed and are prepared for any potential question that may be asked regarding the specific issue(s). 

Contact Counxel Legal Firm 

We are here to simplify your legal experience. We would love to help you with your unemployment appeals hearing! Contact us at (480) 744-6621 or at request@counxel.com. Don’t forget to check out the good things that others are saying about the services they received from Timothy Coons on Google.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice for your specific situation. Use of and access to this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Counxel Legal Firm. Please contact request@counxel.com or (480) 744-6621 to request specific information for your situation.

*Conveniently located off the 101 Freeway and the US 60 in the middle of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek!

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