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Missouri Unemployment Appeals
People frequently call stating that their employer has denied them unemployment benefits. This isn't accurate as it's not up to an employer to decide whether or not you are eligible for benefits. That determination is made by the Dept. of Labor, and while employers frequently dispute unemployment eligibility, that is nothing more than their argument. The Kansas Dept. of Labor has a very specific process that is used to determine unemployment eligibility and to win benefits you will have to successfully navigate that very particular and demanding process.
The Initial Determination
Following an application, based upon the basic information provided by the claimant and the former employer, a Deputy will make an intial determination and mail the Deputy's Determination Concering Claim for Benefit's. That document will state whether or not you have been initially determined eligible for benefits. If you have been denied Missouri unemployment benefits you have 30 days to appeal that determination. If you are initially approved for Missouri unemployment benefits the employer has 16 days to appeal the determination. Either party has the right to an automatic appeal of this initial determination.
The First Missouri Unemployment Appeal
If you are intially denied unemployment benefits by the deputy, don't worry. Many, many valid claims are denied upon the initial determination. It is crucial to understand that the initial determinatin carries no weight and is given no consideration if there is an appeal filed. Once the initial appeal is filed, it is essentially as if the intital determination never happened!
At this level of appeal your case comes before the Appeals Tribunal and administrative law judge called the "Appeals Referee" will conduct an evidentiary hearing. Following that hearing, based solely upon the evidence elicited during that hearing, and the relevant law, will make a brand new determination as to Missouri unemployment eligibility.
These hearings are normally conducted over the phone, but they are not a "simple phone call" with the judge. Testimony will be taken, objections ruled upon, documentary evidence introduced and cross examination allowed. You are likely to face questions from the judge as well as cross examination from your former employer. These evidentiary hearings are very much like and must be treated as miniature trials.
Missouri unemployment appeal hearings are recorded and a transcript of that recording, along with the relevant documents, become the "Record." You are very unlikely to get a second chance to build that record as further appeals are based upon that record as it stands. Absent truly extraordinary circumstances, there will not be any more hearings. That is why the Missouri unemployment appeal hearing is the most important event that will happen during the course of your fight for Missouri unemployment benefits.
The Missouri Labor & Industrial Relations Commission
If the Referee denied benefits you must appeal to the Missouri Labor & Industrial Relations Commission. On appeal the Missouri Labor & Industrial Relations Commission will review the record that was created at your hearing and either reverse or affirm the Referee's determination. You are unlikely to have another hearing, but you can request a copy of the record and to be allowed to file written briefs arguing your case. These briefs are of a technical legal nature. However, proper briefing is crucial to have any realistic chance at reversal and the briefs must make compelling legal arguments as to why the Referee's determination was erroneous. Should the Labor & Industrial Relations Commission affirm a decision denying benefits, you have exhausted your adminstrative remedies and must take the matter to the Missouri Court of Appeals.