If you have been denied unemployment benefits, or if you were approved, but now your employer is appealing, you may be asking yourself, do I need an attorney to help me to appeal?
Having an attorney can be extremely helpful in a number of ways. Many people do not realize that, once an appeal has been filed, a legally binding evidentiary hearing follows. This is a full hearing, in which testimony is taken under oath, witnesses can be cross-examined, evidence can be presented, and legal arguments can be made. Your hearing is often over the phone, but sometimes in person at an office of the Georgia Department of Labor.
You are entitled to be represented by counsel if you so choose. Keep in mind the very serious nature of your appeal hearing. Hearings are typically very brief (usually an hour or less), but can have a huge impact. The outcome of your unemployment hearing will determine whether you are entitled to benefits. If you do not prevail at your initial appeal hearing, it is very difficult to prevail in a later appeal. Having an attorney can help you to be successful in your appeal in a number of ways.
First, an experienced attorney can help to put your mind at ease about what is going to happen at the appeal hearing. With an experienced unemployment attorney at your side, you know that someone is with you who has done this many times before and is familiar with the process. An experienced unemployment attorney knows what to expect, and can help to protect you from any abuses by the employer in the hearing.
Second, an experienced attorney will know the rules of evidence, and will work to keep your former employer from bringing things into the record that are irrelevant or otherwise inadmissible. For example, an employer will often attempt to base their case on hearsay, which is not admissible. However, proper objections must be made, and the legal arguments must be explained to the hearing officer. Knowing how to properly lodge the objection is important to keeping this sort of inadmissible evidence from tainting the process.
Third, an experienced attorney will know precisely what issues are relevant to your case, and can focus the hearing on those issues. The laws governing unemployment benefits are actually fairly complicated, so understanding how to narrow the focus of the hearing on the important issues can be very beneficial.
The attorneys of Radford & Keebaugh have years of experience and a record of success representing employees in their unemployment appeals. If you have questions, or wish to seek counsel, please call us at (678) 369-3609 or fill out the contact form. Please also see this other helpful resource regarding Georgia unemployment attorneys.