What to Know

Unemployment Appeals - California

Unemployment Appeals. Los Angeles, California.

Unemployment Appeals

If you feel you've been unfairly or wrongly denied unemployment benefits are facing an appeal, call us at 888-762-0297 to discuss your case.

We can help clients in Los Angeles and everywhere else in California.

We do not charge for consultations.

What is Unemployment?

Unemployment is a state-run program designed to keep workers afloat financially when they lose their job. The benefits temporarily replace a portion of a former employee’s wages as a type of job insurance. Every state has its own unemployment benefits program, including qualifications. In California, requirements have become increasingly strict. An unemployment attorney in California can help you prepare and file your claim to give you the best chance of success.

Who Qualifies for Unemployment?

Qualifying for unemployment is an involved process with specific criteria. To be eligible, you must:

Be physically able to work

Be available for employment and actively looking

Have paid into unemployment insurance during the base period

Be unemployed or partially unemployed

In addition, you cannot be responsible for your own unemployment. For example, if you were fired from a job for misconduct, you may not qualify for benefits. In addition, if you voluntarily quit your job, you may not be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Can an Unemployment Claim be Denied?

Unemployment claims can be denied for a variety of reasons. Once you apply for benefits, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) will review your application and either approve or deny your claim.

Some of the most common reasons why unemployment benefits are denied include:

Refusing reasonable work: To maintain your unemployment benefit eligibility, you must continue to look for work. If a reasonable job offer is made, you are required to accept. What is considered “reasonable” varies by circumstance. An example of an unreasonable job offer may be where an unemployed heart surgeon is offered a handyperson position (and turns it down). However, if a hospital extends an offer that is congruent with the surgeon’s skills and experience, they must accept the position.

Voluntarily leaving or resigning: If you voluntarily become unemployed, you are not qualified for benefits. An exception to this can be challenging. In rare cases, if you have a particularly good reason for resigning, skilled unemployment lawyers in California can fight on your behalf.

Not paying enough into the program: Unemployment benefits are based on your earnings in the base period. The base period is typically 12 months. If you were paid as an independent contractor or if you are self-employed, you may not qualify due to earnings requirements.

Being terminated with cause: An employer may deny unemployment benefits if you were terminated with cause. Your claim may be denied if you were fired for misconduct. Careless mistakes and generally poor performance should not disqualify you from benefits. To be disqualified for misconduct, you must have exhibited negligent or intentional disregard for your duties. In addition, the disregard must have harmed your employer’s interests.

Knowing when to appeal an unemployment denial is important. An unemployment lawyer in California can discuss the details of your case to determine if you were wrongly denied.

Unemployment Appeals Process

If your unemployment benefits have been denied or reduced, and you believe you have grounds for an appeal, speaking to a knowledgeable unemployment lawyer is crucial.

How to Prepare for The Appeal Hearing

The appeal hearing can seem overwhelming. If you have been waiting for your benefits for several weeks or months, you may feel a great deal of pressure.

It is important to remember that a hearing is not an exact science. There are some do’s and don’ts to consider. However, having a talented unemployment lawyer by your side can give you the best chance of winning your appeal.

A few Do’s to keep in mind:

Make sure the unemployment office has a good contact number on file

Prepare supportive evidence, including witness testimony, emails, and other documents

Dress appropriately for court

Give the court and judge the respect they deserve, including addressing the judge as “Your Honor”

A few Don’ts to beware of include:

Don’t run late for your hearing; respect the court and the judge’s time

Don’t use hearsay, i.e., rumors or gossip, as evidence

Don’t pass up the opportunity to cross-examine your employer’s witnesses

Don’t decline to make a closing statement

Understand that your former employer has the right to fight your appeal. It is likely they will have representation in court and a well-prepared case. You have the right to retain counsel and even the playing field.

An unemployment attorney can prepare your case, cross-examine witnesses, and make closing arguments on your behalf.

What to Expect During the Appeal Process

A general overview of the appeals process is as follows:

  • In California, you have a very short time to submit your appeal to the EDD's decision to reduce or deny you benefits after the mailing date of the denial letter sent to you.
  • Do not delay! An unemployment attorney can assist you in gathering critical documents and other supporting evidence.
  • When preparing your appeal, be sure to include a brief explanation as to why the denial should be overturned.
  • For example, suppose the denial letter states you voluntarily left your employment as a delivery driver. You may include a statement explaining that recent health developments have rendered you unable to perform the same tasks as before. At the request of your doctor and because your employer could not grant a reasonable accommodation or transfer, you were forced to resign.
  • Every week, continue to file weekly claims for unemployment benefits. The appeals process may take a few weeks to several months. If your appeal is granted, you may be entitled to the weeks of claimed unemployment.
  • To qualify for weekly unemployment benefits, you must be actively searching for work. It is important to stay compliant during the appeals process. In addition, keep updated records of your job searches both online and in person.

By staying compliant with the weekly unemployment requirements, you strengthen your appeal. It may hurt your claim if you do not claim your benefits and complete your weekly job searches.

What to Expect After the Appeal Hearing

After your hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will consider the evidence and testimony before making a decision. At this point, you have done everything you can do. When the judge is ready, they will issue a written letter stating whether your appeal was granted or denied.

What if your appeal is denied?

If your appeal is denied, you have the right to a second-level appeal. You have 30 days from the decision date to file an appeal with the Appeals Board.

Unlike your first appeal, the Appeals Board rarely considers new evidence. Simply include the pertinent information and a brief explanation of your appeal.

What happens if your appeal is successful?

If your appeal is successful, you will soon receive your weekly benefits. If you have completed your weekly duties throughout the appeals process, you should receive those weeks retroactively.

Other Items to Keep in Mind

Appealing an unemployment denial can be difficult. Some of the most common challenges during the appeals process include the following:

Employer disputes over termination and misconduct

Not being prepared with facts, documentation, or witness statements

Not hiring experienced representation

Skilled unemployment lawyers in California have the experience and resources to prepare an effective appeal. An attorney can interview witnesses at your former place of employment, gather critical evidence, and represent you at your hearing.

Your unemployment attorney in California is there to represent your best interests. Schedule a consultation today to discuss the details of your unemployment denial.

Title VII preferential treatment

In some cases, it is not an adverse employment decision that violates an employee's rights. Instead of treating applicants or employees of one sex unfavorably, an employer might engage in preferential treatment of employees of the other sex. For example, preferring to have male executives becomes discrimination when an employer hires a male applicant based on his gender instead of giving a female applicant a fair chance. Treating one gender more favorably can be discriminatory even in the absence of overtly unfavorable treatment.

Who is exempt from Title VII?

Not every employer in the United States must abide by Title VII. For example, the law does not apply to employers with fewer than 15 total employees. It is important to remember, however, that California law applies to employers with five or more employees, so even if Title VII does not apply, employers might still violate California law with acts of sex discrimination.

Also, employers are exempt from Title VII if they can show they are a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society. These religious employers do not have to abide by anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII, including discrimination based on sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender expression or identity. While churches and other traditional religious organizations are exempt, other for-profit employers might claim they are religious simply because the owners have certain beliefs and do not want to hire certain employees. This is important to recognize, challenge and prevent unlawful discrimination.

For more information

We invite you to call us to discuss your denial of unemployment benefits and questions about appeals. Call us at 888-762-0297 with your questions or concerns.

We don't charge for consultations.

We can help clients everywhere in California.

Last updated on October 10, 2022.

Additional Articles

Filing for Unemployment in California

Employment Development Department (EDD)

Unemployment Insurance Appeals