Some times just the fact that you have an attorney can make a positive difference in your case. This was the case in an unemployment appeal that I recently handled. I was representing a woman let go from her position at a local university. My client filed for unemployment and the human resources representative for the university filed an objection asserting (I believe wrongfully) that my client was terminated for misconduct. My client’s unemployment benefits were denied based on the university representative’s assertions. I was then retained to represented her on an appeal.
Unemployment appeals at this stage are evidentiary hearings that are handled over the phone. The Hearing Officer (Judge) calls the various parties and conferences everyone in together for the hearing. My client and I were called first; so, we heard the employer’s representative being called, but the the employer’s representative was unaware that we were already on the line. As is usual, the Hearing Officer started the hearing by noting who was present for the hearing on the record.
At this point, a couple minutes into the hearing, the employer’s representative learned for the first time that their ex-employee brought an unemployment attorney to the hearing. At this moment, the employer’s representative, in a quite flustered manner, interrupted and advised that she was not aware an attorney was involved and stated that she cannot participate. The Hearing Officer advised that the hearing would go on without her. The university representative again advised that she could not participate and hung up.
The hearing went on without her and my client’s testimony was the only evidence heard. The Hearing Officer overruled the previous denial of benefits and granted my client unemployment. Had my client not been represented, it would have been a tough battle with the university representative who surely has more experienced with appeal hearings than my client. However, just having an attorney, caused the university employer to forfeit and abandon its objection and give us pretty much a default win. All that benefit with me not even having to use my lawyerly expertise.