What can I do if unemployment denied me benefits?
Should you have your AL application for unemployment compensation benefits denied, you have the legal right to appeal. In the unfortunate event that you are denied unemployment, the first step you must take is to determine the reason your claim was not approved. Here are some common reasons that you may be denied unemployment benefits:
- You quit your job without good cause: Any time you voluntarily resign without good cause, you forfeit your eligibility for unemployment benefits. In this case, good cause means you had a work-related reason for leaving your job, such as sexual harassment that was not addressed by your employer or unsafe work conditions. However, if you left for personal reasons, you will not meet the “good cause” condition to obtain unemployment benefits.
- You were fired from your job for misconduct: Anyone who is fired due to work-related misconduct, such as failing to obey your employer’s work rules, being late or absent or endangering the safety of others, you will not qualify for unemployment benefits in the state of Alabama.
- You have yet to meet the state of Alabama’s minimum earnings requirements: Alabama law mandates that you must have worked at least two quarters during a 12-month base period in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
- You are unable to work or have refused to accept suitable work: Whether you are rendered unable to work due to injury or illness, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. By the same token, if you refuse suitable work or fail to make a legitimate effort to find a job, you will be denied unemployment benefits in Alabama.
Once you have determined the reason you have been denied unemployment, you must file an appeal. Read more below about the appeal process in Alabama.
The Appeal Process in Alabama
Once you have been notified of your unemployment benefits claim denial, you can file a written appeal to the Hearing and Appeals Division of the Alabama Department of Labor. This appeal must be received within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the original decision. The following information must be included in the Alabama unemployment denial appeal request:
- Your full name
- The last four digits of your Social Security Number
- The reason you disagree with the initial decision and why you are eligible for benefits
- Your signature
Throughout the unemployment denial appeal process, you must continue to file weekly certifications with the DOL. These weekly certifications prove that you are still unemployed and actively seeking employment.
After filing an appeal, you will receive a Notice of Unemployment Compensation Telephone hearing. This notice will give you details regarding the date and time of the hearing, as well as the issues that will be discussed. Both you and your employer will be able to submit documents, present witnesses and make arguments supporting your respective cases.
The Board of Appeals in Alabama
Even if the hearing officer does not overturn your original unemployment benefits denial decision, you can file an appeal with the Board of Appeals. This three-member panel is appointed by the governor and is responsible for conducting hearings in person.
If you are unhappy with the Board of Appeals’ decision, you can take it one step further and file an appeal with the circuit court in the county in which you last worked or lived. This appeal must be filed within 30 days of the board’s decision.
The final step, if the decision is still not overturned, would be to submit an appeal to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
Wrongful Termination in Alabama
One other factor to keep in mind regarding unemployment benefits applications is wrongful termination. Should you be fired for discriminatory reasons, you may be eligible to file an Alabama wrongful termination suit. In addition, if your employer violated your contract or fired you in retaliation for exercising your legal rights, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim against your employer. If any of these situations apply, ensure that you go through with filing for unemployment compensation benefits while you prepare a case against your former employer, as you may likely be eligible for unemployment compensation.