Periodically, an applicant will be denied unemployment in Washington State. When an employee is denied unemployment benefits, he or she will probably ask “What can I do if unemployment denied me benefits?” Luckily, there are actions you can take to claim your benefits, even if you receive a denial in the mail.
The process is not simple, but if you keep reading, you will learn about the following issues in regards to unemployment denial.
- How to file a Washington unemployment claim appeal
- Washington employer appeals
- Attending your appeal hearing in Washington
- Washington wrongful termination laws
Washington Unemployment Resources
How to File a Washington Unemployment Claim Appeal
When you have your Washington unemployment benefits denied, you have the right to appeal within 30 days of the decision. If you file past the 30-day mark, the state will automatically dismiss your appeal unless you can provide a reasonable explanation. The Employment Security Department provides an unemployment denial appeal template for all workers to use, but you can also write a request in your own words. After you complete your appeal, you will need to make sure that it contains the following information.
- Personal information
- Reason for your appeal
- Your signature
- Any relevant documents to support your case
- Information about potential witnesses
- Your native language
Please mail or fax your WA unemployment denial appeal and all relevant documents to the Claims Appeals Center in Olympia. The state does not accept over the phone appeals. Even if you are denied benefits, you will still need to file timely weekly unemployment claims.
Washington Employer Appeals
You can also be denied unemployment in Washington State if a previous employer contests the state decision. This usually only occurs when an employer does not believe that you are entitled to benefits, but any company you previously worked for can appeal the following in regards to your unemployment benefits.
- Decision to reduce or deny your benefits
- Overpayment issues
- Training application
- Decisions about your financial compensation
- The reason you provide for your termination
If an employer appeals to have your unemployment compensation benefits denied, the state will still make the final decision. If the state finds the concerns of your employer valid, you will not be able to receive unemployment benefits. You will also be required to repay any benefits you have received.
Attending Your Appeal Hearing in Washington
Once your Washington unemployment denial appeal is received, a representative will send you information explaining the appeals process in greater detail. The unemployment denial appeal is also sent to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), which is not affiliated with the Employment Security Department. The OAH will assign an administrative judge to your case, provide copies of the appeal to all involved parties, and schedule your hearing. In the state of Washington, the vast majority of appeals are held over the phone, but the administrative judge will inform you if you need to appear in person.
During your WA unemployment denial appeal hearing, you will be required to take an oath. Workers also have the right to question any parties involved in the appeal hearing, and you will need to present any pertinent evidence to the judge. The judge will also examine your availability to work, as well as any information you included on your initial claim. You must attend your hearing on time, or you will be denied unemployment benefits by the judge. If you do not know how to file an appeal properly, you can watch an instructional video on the OAH website.
Workers who have been denied unemployment in Washington also have the right to appeal the initial OAH decision. If you do not agree with the judge, you can file a Petition for Review with the Commissioner of the Employment Security Department. At any point during the appeal process, you can enlist the aid of another person, and many unemployed workers find it beneficial to hire an attorney to help them. If you cannot afford legal representation, the state will provide you with a list of free legal resources.
Washington State Wrongful Termination Laws
You may have your Washington unemployment compensation benefits denied if you are terminated for performance or conduct-related reasons. However, all employers are required to follow laws and regulations regarding termination. If an employer violates any of these laws and fires a worker, the worker is said to have been wrongfully terminated. Wrongful termination is grounds for legal action against an employee, as well as an appeal.
If you were terminated or quit for any of the following reasons, you might have been wrongfully terminated.
- You were subjected to physical, sexual, or emotional harassment
- Reasons related to your race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, or disability
- Your life was in danger (ex: an abusive spouse knew of your job location)
If you had your unemployment benefits denied, you would need to provide the Claims Appeals Center with detailed information if you were terminated for any of the reasons above. You may also be eligible to receive benefits if your spouse received a job that forced you to relocate.