We've been writing lately about the unemployment benefit process in Connecticut. You can catch up on prior posts here and here. The process is pretty informal, but your company should know the basics of the hearings and appeals. In this post we will discuss hearings, and then next time, appeals.
If an employer indicates on the “pink slip" (it's not even pink, but you can access the form here) that the former employee quit or was discharged for misconduct or some other reason, a hearing will normally be scheduled with a Department of Labor adjudications specialist at the Career Center nearest you within ten to fourteen days from the date the former employee first files for unemployment. Here is what you need to know about the hearing.
• The hearing is informal, but both parties have the right to be represented by counsel of their choice. Because either party gets a “do-over” of this hearing if they appeal – it’s called a de novo (lawyers love latin) hearing – we do not advise employers to be represented by counsel at this hearing. It complicates the proceeding, and forcing busy adjudicators to deal with a lawyer creates more problems than it solves.
• The employer will be mailed a notice of this hearing and asked to provide a statement regarding the job separation. The employer can provide the statement in person, by telephone, or in writing.
• At the hearing, both parties have the right to present any evidence, documents or witnesses they wish. They will be questioned about the circumstances which led to separation of employment.
• If either party discovers during the hearing that they need additional evidence, documents or witnesses to fully present their case, they may request that the hearing be rescheduled for a later date to be determined by the adjudications specialist. Typically, the adjudicator will grant this request.
• Following the hearing, the adjudicator will make a decision as to whether the reason for separation of employment is or is not “disqualifying.”
• If the former employee is disqualified from receiving benefits, a letter will be sent explaining the legal reason for the disqualification, and information concerning your appeal rights. Next time we will help you understand a little about the appeal process.
We really hope you find this information helpful. And we really hope you don't need an attorney for this process but if you do, give us a call to discuss our flat fee arrangements for these proceedings.