“I’ve been denied unemployment, and I lost my appeal. I’m considering appealing again. Your thoughts?”

Question: I was fired from a healthcare facility about one year ago. The facility was full of hostility and very dysfunctional. The CFO fired me for asking too many questions. I did not receive any unemployment benefits because they let me go for insubordination.

Since then, the CFO who directed that I be fired, the HR Generalist who fired me, the person who replaced me, and the CEO himself, have all been let go.

I appealed my denial of unemployment benefits, and I am now thinking of appealing that first appeal. It seems that I would have to hire a lawyer for a second appeal, since there are so many “hoops” to jump through.

Cloquet, Minnesota

Answer: The laws and regulations that cover unemployment are different for each state. While I am not admitted to practice law in Minnesota (where I once lived), I did find a good summary of Minnesota’s rules and regulations concerning Unemployment Insurance appeals at www.uimn.org. As you will see if you go to that website, Minnesota law provides for (1) an initial hearing, (2) a request for reconsideration of your decision by the same unemployment law judge that made the initial decision, and (3) a formal appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

On that website you will also see that you are provided with an Appeal Hearing Guide and a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

The entire process, including the appeals process, seems to be rather “applicant-friendly,” not necessitating the use of an attorney. You may, in fact, have an advantage at this time, as the employer’s witnesses are no longer readily available to it.

If you still believe you need an attorney to go forward, I might suggest you look into organizations in your area that provide attorneys, or at least lower fees, for those who cannot afford them, such as the National Employment Lawyers Association, Legal Aide, and the like. You might also seek the assistance of the referral service of your local bar association.

As you’ve no doubt learned, unemployment insurance is generally denied to employees who have been terminated due to bad behavior, such as insubordination. However, insubordination is not always bad behavior, such as refusing to engage in dangerous, improper, illegal or other wrongful behavior. Likewise, insubordination may not be bad behavior for several other reasons such as if the person directing you to do something was not authorized to direct you to do so.

My suggestion is that, if you believe your “insubordination” was not insubordination, or was justified for one or more reasons, don’t be afraid, intimidated or confused by the “legal” aspects of dealing with a court. Court personnel are almost always quite friendly, helpful and flexible when dealing with non-lawyers who are trying to represent themselves.

My best to you,
Al Sklover

P.S.: Applying for Unemployment Benefits can be confusing! Eliminate the confusion, and make sure you don’t forget anything – use our 132-Point Guide & Checklist for Unemployment Benefits. To get your copy, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!

© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

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