Appealing a Rhode Island Unemployment Insurance Decision
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There is a chance that you will be denied unemployment benefits by the Rhode Island Department of Labor. When an applicant sees his or her unemployment benefits denied, it is natural to feel confused and angry. Luckily, there is a way to take your concerns to the state and have your original claim reexamined. If you are asking yourself, “What can I do if unemployment denied my benefits?” you will know what to do after reading about the following topics:
- Understanding your unemployment denial in Rhode Island
- Common reasons for a denial of benefits in Rhode Island
- Unemployment denial appeals and adjudication in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Unemployment Resources
Understanding Your Unemployment Denial in Rhode Island
If you are denied unemployment in Rhode Island, you will receive a letter from the Department of Labor and Training detailing the reasons for your denial. The state recommends that all workers read over this letter carefully, and follow the instructions for filing a timely unemployment denial appeal. If you fail to appeal by the date provided, the state has the right to forgo reviewing your appeal. If you file your unemployment denial appeal late, you will need to provide the department with a reasonable explanation.
Common Reasons for a Denial of Benefits in Rhode Island
Many workers have their Rhode Island unemployment compensation benefits denied after the state reviews the circumstances of their termination. Unemployment insurance benefits are available to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own, and more than likely, if you were terminated for conduct or performance-related issues, you will not be eligible. You can be denied unemployment benefits in RI if you were terminated or you voluntarily resigned for any of the reasons below:
- Attendance issues or frequent tardiness
- Decline in work quality
- Failure to follow company rules and regulations (insubordination)
- Engaging in actions that put the well-being of others in jeopardy
- Joining a strike or taking sides in a labor dispute
- Engaging in illegal activities
Unemployment insurance coverage benefits are meant to be temporary, and the state expects workers to find new employment as quickly as possible. If you turn down a similar job that pays a similar salary, you may find your unemployment benefits denied. If you do turn down an employment offer, you will need to provide the department with a detailed explanation of your actions. If the state does not agree with your reasoning, you may be denied unemployment in RI. You will also need to make three job contacts on a weekly basis, and if you accept employment, you must earn less than your weekly benefit amount.
All states, including Rhode Island, have federal and state laws regarding employment. These laws must be followed by all employers, including the laws regarding the hiring and firing of workers. Employers are not allowed to fire workers for certain reasons set forth by state and federal governments, and if they do, they could be in violation of the law. This act is known as wrongful termination in RI, and you will need to notify the Department of Labor and Training immediately if you have been terminated based any of the reasons below:
- Your race, nationality, ethnicity, religious beliefs, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.
- You were forced to perform work that conflicted with your religious or spiritual values.
- You were asked to engage in criminal activities.
- You were being physically, sexually or verbally harassed.
If you were denied unemployment, the state would also want to know if you resigned because you felt like your life or well-being was in jeopardy.
Unemployment Denial Appeals and Adjudication in Rhode Island
Workers can file an unemployment denial appeal in Rhode Island up to 15 days after receiving a decision. Your appeal must be in writing, and the department will not accept appeals by phone or in person. Once the department receives your appeal, you will be referred to a Referee at the state Board of Review. You will be provided with materials outlining the details of your hearing, as well as the best ways to prepare. The Board functions as an impartial party, and it does not receive any direction from the Department of Labor and Training. This board will be responsible for issuing a decision regarding your appeal. If you are denied unemployment benefits a second time, you must email the department directly if you wish to file another appeal.
If you were denied unemployment benefits in RI because of your job-hunting efforts or termination, you can also file an appeal. This process is known as an adjudication interview, and it will be conducted over the phone. During the interview, an investigator (adjudicator) will ask you questions about your job-hunting efforts or your previous job and use the information you provide to make a decision. The state Central Adjudication Unit will provide you with the date and time of your interview, and within a few weeks, you will receive your benefits if ruled in your favor. The state provides an online questionnaire, and it recommends completing it before your adjudication to save time.