If you file for unemployment benefits and you receive a deputy's
determination disqualifying you from some benefits and you disagree with that
determination, you may file a timely appeal requesting a hearing.
Usually you must file within 30 days from the date of the determination. The deputy's
determination will normally have the date by which you can file your appeal. However, it
is wise to file your appeal immediately or as promptly as possible. If the determination
is favorable to you, the employer may also appeal seeking a hearing.
In either case, you may be called upon to represent yourself and your claims at a
hearing before an appeals referee.
Remember, a hearing is like a trial and if you are representing yourself, you are in
effect your own lawyer. As such you have the same rights and responsibilities as a lawyer
handling the case.
The appeals referee will have information outlining hearing procedures as well as other
information you will need to know (the Division of Employment Security for the State of
Missouri has pamphlets entitled "Information for Appeals Tribunal Hearings").
Normally, the hearings are telephone conference call hearings. The Division will
provide you with a time and date for the hearing, together with a telephone number you
will need to call at the scheduled time to start the hearing. You can request an
in-person hearing particularly where you have evidence that needs to be seen in person or
where you have special needs that a telephone hearing cannot meet.
It is important for you to make yourself familiar with the issues in the case and the
claims of the opposing party. Documents and other evidence need to be submitted to the
Division hearing officer and the opposing party (employer) before the hearing.
A copy of the Division's records relating to your case will be sent to you prior to the
- Make an opening statement (summarizing what you think the evidence will show) and
a closing statement (summarizing what you have proved);
- Bring witnesses to testify at the hearing in support of your position;
- Submit documents which support your argument (make copies beforehand for the
employer and the Appeals Referee);
- Cross-examine (question) the employer's witnesses;
- Subpoena witnesses and records that you think will support your claim; if
subpoenas are necessary they should be requested as early as possible
- Object to the introduction of evidence or testimony.
If you, the claimant, have been accused of misconduct related to your job, it is the
employer's obligation to prove the misconduct and that the misconduct justified a
Generally "misconduct" involves an act of willful disregard of the employer's
interests or a deliberate violation of the employer's rules or an intentional and
substantial disregard of the employee's duty to the employer.
In opposing a misconduct charge you may wish to present witnesses to show that the
employer's allegations are wrong or that the conduct was not serious or deserving of a
discharge. You may decide to offer as exhibits such items as journals, notes, workbooks,
personnel manuals, physicians' statements or reports, etc.
If you think the employer has documents (reports, evaluations, time sheets, etc.),
which support you, you can subpoena those records through the Division. The appeals
referee will prepare the subpoenas for you to serve. If subpoenas are necessary they
should be requested as early as possible. You can also attempt to subpoena witnesses whom
you believe need to testify on your behalf. (A word of caution however, it is generally
wise to know exactly what your witness is going to say before he is subpoenaed or called
Other evidence that you might wish to offer could include:
1. Evaluations indicating your good work;
2. Having witnesses testify in support of your position;
3. Other written records showing that you did not do anything that should be called
"misconduct", i.e., police or accident report, witness statements, photos, etc.
If an employee quits his/her employment without just cause related to the work or
employer, that employee is generally not eligible for benefits until he/she has obtained
new employment and earned substantial other wages since the end of the contested
If you are denying that you quit without just cause related to your work or employer
often your case will center on trying to show either that you were in fact discharged by
your employer or that you had a good work-related reason for quitting.
Evidence that you might wish to offer could include:
1. Termination letters or notices;
2. Witnesses who can testify that they saw or heard the employer discharge you or that
you were mistreated on the job by your supervisor or co-workers, with the supervisor's
3. Physician or psychologist statements, reports or letters showing that your health
was adversely affected by the job or that the doctor advised you to quit;
4. Accident reports or government reports indicating that your job was hazardous,
unhealthy or dangerous.
There are other grounds which can lead to a disqualification (denial of benefits), such
as refusing to accept offered employment, failing to make an adequate job search, or being
unavailable for employment, among others.
Each situation will require different support, evidence or testimony to prove your
position. In each case it will be necessary for you to decide which witnesses and/or
documents (if any) you will need to produce.
A finding that you were discharged for cause or "quit", means you will not
receive benefits during this unemployment period. Rather,
you will only receive benefits if you find other employment, work that employment until
you receive wages equal to a certain number of times your benefit amount and lose that job
through no fault of your own.