Unemployment Law

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Eligibility

You are eligible to file for unemployment benefits if you left work through no fault of your own.  Examples include:  lay-offs or work reduction due to lack of work, voluntarily leaving with good cause and termination by the employer without good cause.

“Good cause” is sometimes difficult to determine and it is recommended that you speak with an attorney if you quit or are terminated from your employment.

Benefit Determination

In order to be eligible for benefits you must have earned at least $3500 in your base period.  Your base period is determined using your 2 highest quarters of earnings in the last 4 quarters worked.  The earnings in the 2 highest quarters are added and then divided by 26 weeks (the number of weeks in 2 quarters).  This number equals your average weekly wage (AWW).  Your AWW is then divided in half to calculate your weekly unemployment benefit.*

*Note:  the maximum weekly unemployment benefit as of October 6, 2013 is $679.  If your AWW divided in half is greater than $679, your weekly benefit will be $679.

Dependent Benefits

Claimants who are the whole or main support for dependent children may also receive $25/week per child.  The total dependent cannot exceed 50% of your weekly benefit.

The Process

When you are separated from work you must file a claim by calling the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

DUA will send a request to your employer for your earnings and information as to why you left the job.  The employer has 10 days to respond to the request.  The DUA then determines if you are eligible for benefits.

If DUA determines you are not eligible, you have the right to request a hearing with a hearing examiner. The employer can also request a hearing to dispute your award of benefits.  A request for hearing must be filed with within 10 days of the decision.

At the hearing both you and your employer will have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses.  It is highly recommended that you have attorney attend the hearing with you.  As with any legal dispute, it is very important to present your best case at the hearing level.  Winning cases on appeal is extremely difficult.

If you are denied at hearing, you can file an application for review by the Board of Review.  This application must be filed within 30 days of receiving the hearing decision. If your appeal is denied by the Board of Review, further appeals can be made through the district court.

Note:  You must continue to file your weekly benefit claim and look for work during the appeals process.

Fee Structure

  • Initially you will speak with one of our highly trained staff about the nature of your problem.  Once the background information is obtained an attorney will contact you to discuss the matter further.
  • There is no charge for the initial phone consult with an attorney.
  • If the client and the attorney agree that an office meeting is necessary, the attorney will advise you what the fee for the consultation will be.
  • After the initial client meeting, a decision will be made as to whether the attorney will be engaged to represent the client.
  • If the client decides to hire the attorney, the fee for representation will be discussed.  The fees in these cases may be based upon an hourly rate or a flat fee depending on the circumstances and complexity of the issues.