Contesting Unemployment? Is the appeal process fair to both parties?

I am getting ready to make a third appearance in front of a law judge. The issue before him is to determine if my client is able to collect unemployment. When she presented her situation to me several months ago, it was clear that there was something stinky about her termination.

The company says she was terminated “for cause” which automatically denies her the right to collect unemployment in her state (this is not a NY case).

I think her termination was not “for cause” and that it might be for something different, in fact I wrote about it on April 28th. It is hard to believe the process started that long ago.

The company where she was employed uses a third party service, U.C. Express to administer and contest their unemployment claims. Using this service may end up being the company’s fatal flaw.

Each time we have been in front of the law judge, the company and the third party administrator has ignored fulfilling the subpoena requirements.

Witnesses have not appeared. Documents and tapes have not been produced.

We are not asking for something extra-ordinary. Each request we make asks the company to show or prove the basis and facts for their decision – which is written in the investigative report they submitted as evidence.

Typically, when a company terminates someone “for cause” it should be reviewed by their attorney or human resources to ensure the decision is sound and defensible. The company in question is not a small mom and pop shop, it is a major company listed on the NASDAQ with monthly sales in excess of $5 billion.

An attorney not affiliated with this case tells me it should never gone past the first meeting. “If the company failed to put on their defense, the law judge should have ruled in favor of the appellant” he says shaking his head.

For this state’s unemployment hearing guidelines, a case should be heard and decided within 45 minutes. To date, we have spent three hours with the law judge and company representatives in closed meetings. This does not take in account the hours spent preparing for each session.

Why does the unemployment system allow for repeated hearings? A colleague points to the company stalling – hoping the appellant will drop her appeal. It is interesting to note that U.C. Express is a service of TALX.

The company is not in the driver seat though, it is the law judge that continues the case, giving the company and U.C. Express yet another chance to produce evidence.

It begs the question, should we be allowing a third party to create arbitrary delays? I would venture if an ex-employee appealing the decision told the law judge he or she needed more time, the request would be denied.

Companies have significantly more resources to prepare their case. It should be easy to produce if someone was competent at their job. Employing delay tactics by appealing cases that fail to meet the litmus test for sound decisions will cost the company more money in the long run.

The average person appealing their unemployment compensation denial is doing it by themselves. Their ability to put on a good defense is handicapped by not knowing the legal system or how to present a case.

This is one of the reasons I am helping her in this case. I know what should have been done on the company side. I know what questions to ask. In the end, she will have a transcript of the company’s failure to prove that she did what they said she did.

An option is to engage an attorney or legal aid, though some states limit the amount of fees that a professional can charge to assist in these cases. By default, the case may not get the attention it needs to be successful, especially when the case may be complicated or thwarted with multiple delays.

What kind of experiences have you had with trying to appeal a case through the Unemployment system? Have you had experiences with U.C. Express or TALX? What are the best practices where both parties have a fair and speedy determination?

Author: Lynn Dessert

Lynn Dessert is a certified ICF and NLP Coach specializing in Executive Career coaching in Charlotte NC. She works with individuals to accelerate their career advancement and organizations to fast track leadership skill development. Her career eBooks What To Do After Being Fired and The Secrets to Successful Job On-Boarding give you a roadmap to DIY. Start your discovery process by contacting her at 704.412.2852 today.

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  1. This U.C. Express Company is a subsidiary of Equifax. Equifax is a credit reporting service. Large companies like Federal Express, Walmart, AT & T ect…. uses them as an accounting firm. This TALX is owned by account executives (aka WALL STREET gangstas) who contest unemployment to obtain an unjust enrichment from the poor and unfortunate individuals struggling to make ends meet. They have members in certain areas that show up to your hearing and is unauthorized to practice law. It purports to me that they resemble debt collectors and trying to collect a debt for the fiction corporations you work for.
    They have unscrupulous tactics that resemble fraud, conversion, and grand larceny. These individuals need to be sued in Federal Court. My solution is to hang in there and as soon as you get your money hire an attorney and sue Talx, Your job, Agency for fraud and collusion.

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  2. I had an appeal and uc express attended on behalf of my employer. I was terminated for violating company policy. I used my club card for Customers 13 times over 5 year period. Never informed of this or written up for this or anything else. Suspension, unbelievably ended in termination. At hearing, loss prevention testified via telephone that I received 2500.00 in gift cards in 2 months by using my card and all on video. As you stated some laymen like me don’t know the system. I was so shocked that I couldn’t speak. I assumed alj would look at case and see no mention of this or video evidence because it simply is not true.she looked at nithing. I lost case solely based on this false information. Anyone in that room knows that’s impossible because if this were the case I would have immediately fired for theft and prosecuted.incidentally the uc express rep was a former hr/Equifax employee from the same company I was fired from. I was wronged in so many ways, devastated and humiliated.thank you for your website.

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    • I am sorry this has happened to you. Unfortunately, I hear about too many cases that end negatively for the ex-employee because they are caught off guard. The law judge expects each side to present their case and to challenge as appropriate. When companies accuse you of something that you know you did not do, ALWAYS ask for the physical evidence to be submitted prior to the meeting so that you can review it. When they do not comply, it will discredit their allegations with the law judge.

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      • What if they do not give you any warning? I was called in mid shift and completely blindsided when I was told “we are terminating you for falsification of documents on your time card.” Long story short, I’m a new grad and new to this facility and have had troubles with my badge when “punching in” and never know when this happens but someone has always contacted me, asking when I clocked in. I say “6:45 or so” assuming that I was in fact there near this time. I was shown 3 pictures of me “entering the unit” at different times that what I had stated.. Yet where I clock in isn’t even where the pictures were taken. I was never late for a shift, and I have never tried to lie! Have I been late before, yes, a few times but (thankfully) my badge worked to clock me in so there was never an issue! I’m absolutely shocked that I can be terminated, as a newer nurse to the unit, who was never warned or reprimanded to get a new badge or that I had been falsifying a time or two by ONLY a few minutes. Please any advise would help me tremendously!

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  1. Contesting Unemployment? Is the appeal process fair to both parties? | Elephants at Work - [...] by Lynn Dessert on August 30, 2010 · 0 comments [...]

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