If you have been dismissed for reasons outside of your own control, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits. Naturally, your former employer will probably try to drag his or her heels over the situation, since a successful unemployment benefits claim against them will increase the unemployment insurance they will have to pay for the rest of their employees. This means that you may have to fight your previous employer in order to receive your benefits.
Normally, if you’ve been fired for misconduct, you are unable to receive unemployment benefits. If you were fired for drug or alcohol use, theft, failing to show up at work, or violating a written company policy, you may be unable to collect unemployment benefits. The usual rule of thumb for determining if you were fired with undue cause is if you were fired through no fault of your own. If you believe that you were fit this standard, then you may be entitled to unemployment benefits.
The first step is to apply for the an unemployment insurance benefits claim, usually by applying for them in person, placing a phone call or filling out an online survey. You will have to answer questions about your employment history and the circumstances surrounding your termination. After you have filled this out, your former employer will also be contacted and asked to tell his or her side of the story. Many employers will try to avoid being culpable for unemployment benefits, so it may be your word against theirs. They can be expected to protest your claim.
If they do try to deny your claim, you may want to go to the unemployment office in person for an interview. You will probably talk to someone in an official capacity about your firing, and you’ll be able to explain in person your side of the events. You will be able to respond to any claims made against you by your erstwhile employer. The official will make a decision based on the information. However, either side may appeal this decision.
In an appeal, both sides are able to present an additional response to the unemployment office, usually with a 30 day window. The final decision will be made in court by a qualified judge. This process is very similar to a trial, and you may want to consider hiring an employment attorney to represent you.