How should I prepare for an appeal hearing?

Read time: 6 minutes


Unemployment benefits hearings

To prepare for your hearing:

  1. Read the decision you received to learn why the decision was made. What information may change it? Good documentation and believable first-hand witnesses are very important.
  2. Immediately collect helpful evidence, such as:
    • Letters, emails, or texts from your employer, including warning notices
    • Union contracts, employee handbooks
    • Medical records and other reports, such as CHRO, workers’ compensation, and rehabilitation
    • Police reports
    • The job application and your contract
    • Timecards, time sheets, and financial records
    Make sure you bring two copies of each item to your hearing.
  3. Contact anyone who witnessed anything related to your appeal and make sure they can participate in the hearing. Eyewitnesses are often the most powerful source of evidence. Written statements by witnesses will be given little, if any, weight because they are not available for questions.
  4. Decide whether you want a lawyer or other representative. If you do:
    • Get one as soon as possible so he or she has plenty of time to prepare.
    • Tell the Appeals Division your representative’s name and address so he or she is contacted about your hearings or other proceedings.
  5. Receive a hearing notice. It will include the date and time of your hearing.
  6. Follow the instructions attached to the hearing notice to send your paperwork to the referee before the hearing. You can send the referee a copy of your evidence before the hearing. It will be officially noted as evidence. Be sure to include your name and case number so that the items are placed in your file. You should also mail a copy of your evidence to the employer and the unemployment benefits administrator.
  7. Tell your witnesses when and where the hearing is as soon as you know and remind them about it. The referee will NOT notify them.

Remember, you must decide before the hearing whether you need representation. You will not be given a new hearing just because you later decide that you should have been represented.

You and your lawyer/representative are responsible for presenting evidence and witnesses to prove your case. The appeal referee does not investigate or invite witnesses for you. He or she will decide based on the information received in advance and the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing. The referee will not be able to consider evidence provided after the hearing.

If you quit your job, it is your responsibility to prove that you left for a good reason attributable to your employer, or another reason permitted by the statute. Also, at any time, you may be required to establish that you are able to work, available for work, and making reasonable efforts to find work. Be prepared to show a list of job search activities, such as career fairs you have attended, jobs and employers you have applied to, and training you are taking – with the dates included.

Appeal hearing