The state may deny your claim for unemployment benefits for various reasons. Whatever the reason, you have the right to appeal the decision in Wyoming. If you file a timely appeal, you will get the chance to participate in a hearing in front of a hearing officer who will act as the judge. You will be able to present evidence and testimony to argue your case.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services’ unemployment division will mail a Notice of Determination. The notice will include instructions on how to appeal. You will have 28 calendar days from the mailing date on the notice in which to file your appeal.
The hearings are usually held over the telephone via conference call. You may receive an in-person hearing if the appeals unit decides that fairness dictates or one of the parties requests it.
How to File the Appeal
Your appeal will be in writing. It should be a simple signed statement stating that you want to appeal, and why. You should fax or mail the decision to the appeals section.
- Your name
- The reason for the appeal
- Your Social Security number
- A copy of the decision
Continue to file your biweekly claims throughout the appeals process. If the hearing officer overturns the original decision, you won’t be able to collect any payments for weeks in which you didn’t file.
Preparing for the Hearing
The appeals unit will mail a Notice of Telephone Hearing or Notice of Hearing. The notice will contain instructions on what you should do next. Read all the information attached to the notice. Pay special attention to the date, time (and place) of the hearing.
If you have a scheduling conflict, you can request a postponement. It is most likely that you will have to change your schedule to accommodate the hearing date. You must be able to show that circumstances beyond your control require the change.
If you will require any special assistance, like TTY service, disability assistance or a language translator, notify the appeals unit immediately. They unit will provide these things for you if you give them sufficient notice.
You will be able to exercise rights during the hearing. You will have the right to representation, to present witness testimony and evidence. Preparing to exercise these rights and developing a logical, fact-based argument are the key to prevailing at the hearing.
In most cases, your former employer will receive notice of the hearing as well, especially if the issue is whether you quit without good cause or were discharged for misconduct. The employer will have the same rights as you during the hearing.
You may have an attorney represent you at the hearing or a designated agent or friend. Many represent themselves at hearings without difficulty. If you plan to hire a lawyer, you should notify the appeals division as soon as possible. Attorneys have specific rules to follow.
If you want to have someone testify at the hearing, they should be prepared to testify as to the facts regarding your separation from work (if that is the issue of your appeal). They should have first-hand knowledge about what happened. Character witnesses do not usually provide helpful testimony unless your character is at issue.
You may present relevant documents that can help prove your case. You can present paperwork regularly produced in the course of business, like time sheets or notices from your supervisor. Other written evidence should be presented if you can have the person who created the document present at the hearing.
You must provide copies of the evidence you’ll use to the hearing officer and the opposing party in advance of the hearing. You should have all your evidence ready days before the hearing date. You should provide the evidence to the hearing officer as soon as you are able. Note that the hearing officer may decide to exclude some of your evidence, something that will be discussed during the hearing if this occurs.
Someone you want to testify may be reluctant to participate. There may exist evidence that someone like your former employer may not want to give you. In these cases, you may request that the HEARING OFFICER issue a subpoena. The subpoena will compel the witness to appear or a person to turn over the evidence you need.
You should contact the appeals division quickly if you want to request a subpoena. You should make your request in writing. The request should contain specific information on the evidence or witness you need so that the HEARING OFFICER can serve the subpoena. The HEARING OFFICER has discretion on whether you issue a subpoena.
If the HEARING OFFICER denies your subpoena request (you may not know until the hearing date), you should attempt to introduce the evidence during the hearing so that it is on the record. If you lose your appeal, you can bring the matter up when appealing the HEARING OFFICER’s decision later.
Gather all your evidence and testimony. Make sure that it all ties together logically. You will want to make a fact-based, logical argument to the HEARING OFFICER during the hearing. When you make an argument, it’s best to leave out financial issues or to try to appeal to the judge’s emotions. The HEARING OFFICER is only interested in the facts of the case. The judge will use those facts to make a decision.
One party will have the burden of proof at the hearing. That means they must show evidence that leads the judge to conclude that it is more likely than not that they are telling the truth. Normally, if the issue is whether you quit without good cause, the claimant will have the burden of proof. If the issue is whether you were discharged for misconduct, the employer will have to “prove” it.
At the Hearing
Hearings are held in person in front of the HEARING OFFICER. Find the location of the hearing on your notice. Make sure you can arrive early. Make sure your witnesses can get there on time as well.
If you are substantially late or you miss the hearing completely, the HEARING OFFICER is likely to dismiss your case and let the original determination stand. You would have to request a reopening of your case to show cause why you missed the hearing.
Your former employer may also appeal determinations. You should appear at those hearings. If you did not request the appeal, but you miss the hearing, you won’t be able to present your side of the story.
The HEARING OFFICER will conduct the hearing in a similar fashion to a court trial. The procedure is less formal, however, the HEARING OFFICER will expect you to behave as you would in court.
You will be sworn in and receive instructions from the HEARING OFFICER. Both parties to the hearing will present their testimony, evidence and witnesses under oath. Both parties will be able to “cross examine” the other party’s testimony and witnesses. Both parties may make closing statements.
The HEARING OFFICER will decide based on the facts presented at the hearing and an application of Vermont’s unemployment law to those facts. The HEARING OFFICER will mail the decision to both parties. The HEARING OFFICER may reverse the original decision, modify it, allow the original decision to stand, or send it back to the DOL for further review.
If you disagree with the decision, you may again appeal. You will file an appeal with the Unemployment Insurance Commission’s board members. You will have 28 calendar days in which to file that appeal.