Topic: How to write appeal letters
June 17, 2019 / By Bryanna Question:
I live in the state of California in the county of Riverside. I was laid off in November of 2009. I filed for unemployment and was granted unemployment benefits. Fast forward to May of 2010 and my former employer appealed my benefits. They lied and said I got fired when I was laid off. Now I'm upset because unemployment has sent me a notice of overpayment and they want me to pay back what I received in benefits! They said I with held information because I supposedly lied about being fired. How can I fight this? I have no way to prove I was laid off. I was laid off over the phone while I was at home with my husband. Any suggestions or help is appreciated. Thank you.
I never received documentation and I am afraid they will make things up. While i was working there, I personally heard managers figuring out ways to block ex employees from getting unemployment. The owner and managers all had access to our company email and whatever we did on the Internet. They even recorded our phone calls. I am afraid they will go into my old company e-mail and add things for their convenience. While I worked there they did many unethical things, including forging medical documents and nurse's signatures. I know they are not above doing things like this so that's why I'm so nervous about taking them to court.
Allannah | 5 days ago
Others here have offered some very good advice and information; however I'd like to add the following, as well.
First and most importantly, you have the right to appeal this denial of unemployment benefits or notice of reimbursement of overpayment of benefits, but you have to formally submit your appeal within 20 calendar days of the mailing date of the Notice of Determination and/or Ruling which you received from the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD), and if you've received the EDD’s Notice of Potential Overpayment, you have only 10 days to respond! I, therefore, urge you to take this action and file your appeal immediately! Following receipt of the EDD’s Notice of Potential Overpayment, you'll then receive its Notice of Overpayment. To request an appeal, you must then send an appeal letter to the EDD within 20 days of the mailing date of the Notice of Overpayment. The mailing date can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the Notice. The address to which the appeal letter is sent appears on the Notice. The appeal letter must contain your current contact information, your Social Security Number, and a statement indicating that you disagree with the EDD’s Notice of Overpayment. You do not need to explain your reason(s) for disagreeing in the appeal letter. You will have an opportunity to thoroughly prepare and present your arguments during an appeal hearing. At this stage in the appeal process, it is best to keep your communications very brief. But send this letter out to the required address right away! Be sure to send this letter through the U.S. Postal Service with a return receipt requested. In this way, you'll have proof that it was sent and received. Also, send your letter by next day delivery especially if those 10- or 20-day filing deadlines are close! In addition, read the web page at http://las-elc.org/factsheets/ui-overpay... immediately!
California has its government-run California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB) which is headquartered in Sacramento but also has 12 offices in other parts of the State. I'm not sure if the Orange County or Inland Empire (or even San Diego) office is closest to you in Riverside, so you should go to the CUIAB web page at http://www.cuiab.ca.gov/directory.shtm to view the directory of office locations. Then, watch the video provided at the CUIAB website at http://www.cuiab.ca.gov/index.shtm which gives some good advice on how to prepare for your hearing. There's also a written transcript which you can read and copy/print at http://www.cuiab.ca.gov/documents/hearingprocesstranscript.pdf. These apply to an appeal of the EDD's denial of unemployment benefits and not specifically to the EDD's claim of overpayment and your required reimbursement of funds received; however, this will give you a good overview of the hearing process. There's more information about the appeals process at the EDD website at http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/First_Level_Appeal.htm and at http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Second_Level_Appeal.htm, but be sure to read the Legal Aid Society's Fact Sheet on UI Overpayment at http://las-elc.org/factsheets/ui-overpayment.html, including all drop-down boxes. These will help you feel more knowledgeable about your rights and what to expect, etc.,
If you haven't already filed your appeal by mail within the required 20 days, you should immediately contact your closest CUIAB office if you want to submit your appeal letter in person. Please note that these offices will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day, but they should be open again on Tuesday, June 1st. Also, call first to make sure that the appeal form or letter will be accepted by your local CUIAB office. They might require that your appeal request be mailed or perhaps it needs to be sent or hand-delivered to the EDD (which is also closed on Memorial Day). Be sure to check your Notice for this correct address first! Also, if you hand-deliver your appeal request, have the person at the CUIAB or EDD office sign and date a copy which you'll then keep as proof that it was received. If you've already missed any of these filing deadlines, you can still appeal, but you'll have to show why you missed these appeal filing dates.
You have the right to be represented during your appeal hearing by any person, but getting a qualified California-licensed attorney who specializes in "employment law" and, more importantly, is familiar with unemployment insurance claims/appeals and alleged overpayments will be your best help. These experienced attorneys are very familiar with the appeals process, statutes of limitations, deadlines, opposing counsel, and other important factors that could be crucial to your case and beneficial to winning your appeal. They might even know of other cases that involve this employer's attempts to deny UI benefits to other former employees -- and this would certainly help *your* case! An attorney can also ensure that your former employer can't attempt to "frame" you with back-dated emails, etc. as evidence against you. There are computer experts who can prove that this kind of tampering has taken place. If you don't have an attorney and you're unable to receive referrals from friends or family, you can go to online sources such as Avvo at http://www.avvo.com/search/lawyer_search?q=unemployment+&loc=Riverside%2C+CA and other websites (or do a web search) for attorneys in Riverside who specialize in employment law and, specifically, unemployment insurance appeals and employment-related disputes. You can also contact your local Legal Aid office for free assistance. Several Inland Counties Legal Services offices can be reached through http://www.inlandlegal.org/. While you can certainly handle your appeal without an attorney, many lawyers will give you free consultations and they don't require any payment up front. Also, for a $40 consultation fee, you can speak with a qualified attorney through the Riverside County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service. Go to http://www.riversidecountybar.com/lawyer-referral/index.htm or call (951) 682-7520 or (760) 568-5555 (East of Banning), if interested. Discuss your concerns about this employer's past unethical/illegal actions, but keep focused on your goal now of receiving your unemployment insurance benefits and not having to reimburse the State for money already received.
Once you have filed your appeal, you will receive notification of the hearing date. Show up early and be fully prepared to present your case. If you have evidence that backs up your claims and your side of the story, bring original documents plus two copies to the hearing. If you need to obtain evidence from your former employer, you or your lawyer may be able to subpoena the records. You can ask the CUIAB for a subpoena once you receive notification of the hearing. Also, talk with your lawyer and ask him/her whether testimony from former co-workers might be helpful against this employer. If so, you can get signed and witnessed statements or affidavits from these former employees in advance of your hearing.
At the hearing, an Administrative Law Judge will take testimony under oath from you and your employer. It will be the employer's obligation to prove that you engaged in some misconduct and you were fired "for cause." Since there is a dispute as to what happened, the ALJ will have to decide whom s/he believes. The more evidence you have to confirm what happened, the better your chances. So, be sure you've saved and are able to present all of your documents and any affidavits from witnesses who can testify on your behalf so these are available at your hearing. The ALJ will issue his/her decision in writing which you'll receive sometime later by mail.
If you lose after the hearing, you might have one more opportunity to appeal. To learn more about this Second Appeal, go to http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Second_Level_Appeal.htm. The final appeal is based solely on the record of evidence presented at your original hearing, so if you have any information that you want considered, be sure to get it out during the original hearing. Keep in mind, too, that while you are waiting for the appeal, you should keep in touch with your EDD office regarding your required overpayment reimbursement. Pay close attention to any mail you receive from the EDD.
There's a good overview article about unemployment insurance claims in California at http://fileunemployment.org/california-unemployment and another good link at http://www.wisebread.com/laid-off-make-sure-you-get-your-unemployment and elsewhere online. Also, remember that your former employer is hoping that you'll feel scared and intimidated and you won't appeal. Otherwise, they might have to pay an increased portion of unemployment insurance payments to the State of California if these and additional UI benefits are paid to you now and in the future, so they certainly have a vested interest in keeping your benefits denied and not appealed. In addition, the State of California, during its current budget crisis, is trying to recoup funds from many individuals who may have committed intentional fraud, etc. If you lose on your appeal and have to pay back the State for the benefits you've received, be sure to make financial arrangements that you can truly afford and make your payments on time. They'll usually work with individuals, but you really have to prove that you're dependable and on time in order to keep your monthly reimbursement payments low and affordable.
I truly hope this helps! All the best!
Speak to an attorney. Many have free initial consultations - if they can help you they may take payments or work on a contingency fee. I find it hard to accept that an employer can lay you off over the phone with no follow up documentation then that many months later decide to tell unemployment they fired you... Who'd you tick off? (a joke)... If they fired you for grounds and couched it to you in terms of a layoff... that just infuriates me.
That stinks. Just vote for Democrats or people like Bernie Sanders. Most Democrats, especially progressives, are fighting for better treatment of unemployed persons. All I can say is study the manual and get and consult a lawyer.
Did the employer immediately hire another employee to fill your position? If so, chances are good that you were fired. If he didn't fill the position right away, then you could argue that you were laid off because of lack of work.