Three Tips for Your Unemployment Benefits Appeals Hearing

The most recent unemployment appeal hearing, at which I represented a former employee of NASA, who has been working for that federal agency for nearly 30 years was quite surprising. Four (!) people from the employer’s side showed up to contest my client’s benefits – my client’s former supervisor, the supervisor’s manager, the human resources manager, and general counsel. All of them took at least half a day off from work in order to fight my client’s unemployment benefits claim. They showed up with a box full of tabbed exhibits and documents, as if they were getting ready for trial. Preparing all those documents must have taken quite a few hours. This is just another example of how our government wastes and misallocates time and resources. Normally, a private company would send one or at most two representative to the unemployment appeals hearing,

More importantly, this hearing reminded me of three important points that every unemployment benefits appeallant should keep in mind beore his unemployment appeals hearing:

* Your demeanor is extremely important. If you come across as someone who has entitlement mentality and who acts like the world owed him/her or everyone is out to get you, it’s going to hurt your image in front of the judge, and he is going to be less likely to rule in your favor.

* Exaggerating or understating does not help your case. Telling the judge that you have a perfect record and having the employer pull out one or more warnings or performance improvement plans right after will make the judge doubt everything else you say.

* Using cliches certain words that suggest that you paraphrase the actual facts will irritate the judge. The judges are tired of hearing such words as “hostile”, “abusive”, “bullying” etc. These words mean nothing to them and  they force them to follow up every time with the same question: “What do you mean by ___________?” Instead of using those adjective, describe the events specifically and quote whatever statements were made. Another way to annoy the judge and make him like you less is to start your answers to his questions with “basically” or “to be honest with you”.

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