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Have you ever had to deal with an unemployment claims process? It is tricky and not a lot of fun. In this post, we’re going to offer you our insights on the best practices for prevailing at an unemployment hearing.

To start, it is very important to make your best effort to win at the initial level. You should always respond completely and with as much detail as possible to the state’s initial request for separation information. It is harder to overturn an unfavorable decision on an initial level claim than it is to simply earn an affirmation on an already favorable decision. However, no matter how hard you try to retrieve that favorable decision, the unemployment hearing will still take place. Knowing what you are about to face and the most important elements to focus on will help you prevail.

First, when a hearing notice is received, it is important to read the notice thoroughly to make sure you fully understand the participation instructions provided by the state. This will include the date, time, whether it is held over the phone or in person, how to submit documentation for the hearing, and how to provide your contact information as well as the contact information for your witnesses. This is very important to help make the process easier.

Second, decide who should attend the hearing. This should be the individual(s) with first-hand knowledge concerning the claimant’s separation, such as the claimant’s manager or supervisor. The lack of participation by your first-hand witness is one of the most common reasons for an unfavorable outcome.

Third, Don’t skip the pre-hearing conference with your Hearing Representative. This is an important appointment to prepare your and your witness’s testimony, and review all relevant documentation that will be discussed during the hearing. Even if you don’t attend the hearing, it is still important to meet with all the parties involved, so everyone knows exactly what their role is, and what will be said during the hearing.

Finally, when preparing for a hearing, make sure to have all necessary documents pertaining to the separation. For instance, disciplinary records, policy statements, handbooks, witness statements, attendance records, etc. Ideally these should be submitted at the initial protest level. If not, it is imperative to have them for the hearing, with copies in hand, ready to hand out to the Hearing Officer and all other parties. Failure to have these ready in advance could result in the Hearing Officer disallowing the documents from being considered as evidence to the separation.

An unemployment hearing is no fun, but knowing the correct elements to focus on can make it easier. Following these steps will ensure you are prepared for the most positive outcome possible. And remember you’re not alone! DecisionHR is here to help you every step of the way.