We often receive inquiries regarding unemployment benefits and the appeal process. We have added this section for unemployed workers to better understand how to fight back. We are no longer taking these cases, because of the number of cases and the fact this area is not economically feasible. Before the Iowa Republicans destroyed workers' compensation benefits we could help as a lost leader. But no more. If you vote, then vote Democrat. If you didn't vote, then register, and then vote Democrat. If you vote and vote for the Republicans then you have no one to blame except yourself.
In order for you to understand where to begin, there are several essential pieces of information you will need:
1. At what stage are you at in the appeal process (fact-finding interview, hearing before an administrative law judge, or appeal to the employment appeal board).
a. The fact-finding interview is an informal phone conversation where the Workforce Development will make the preliminary determination about whether you are eligible. If they deny benefits, you can appeal to the formal phone hearing before an administrative law judge.
b. The hearing before the ALJ will be under oath and you can present testimony and evidence (either documents if you have any that would be helpful, or witness testimony from co-workers who may be willing to testify and would be helpful to your argument). If they deny benefits, you can appeal to the Employment Appeal Board.
c. The appeal to the EAB is in writing only; no further verbal testimony or any evidence can be presented. You are only allowed to submit a written argument.
2. Is the employer contesting your claim for benefits? You will need to argue your case if so; see below.
3. Did you quit or were you terminated?
4. If you quit, you will need to show there was "good cause" for your voluntary quit in order to obtain benefits. The burden to prove this is on you as the employee.
5. See the Iowa statute on "voluntary quit with good cause" to understand what may be deemed an eligible quit, or rather what will allow you to receive benefits if successfully proven:
6. If you were terminated, the burden is on the employer to prove you were terminated for misconduct. You need to argue against any evidence they present in an attempt to prove your misconduct.
7. If terminated, did you receive prior warnings for the same behavior that resulted in termination?
8. If terminated, did the employer provide a policy that outlined what would constitute unacceptable behavior, and that it would lead to termination?
9. See the Iowa statute on "misconduct" to understand what the employer must prove in order to convince the ALJ to deny benefits, and what reasons are not deemed "misconduct":
10. Finally, never quit your employment based on the assumption that you will automatically be eligible for unemployment benefits; the Iowa statutes (as provided above) can be complex and require evidence to allow an employee to receive benefits. They are not automatically given to those who are separated from employment.
Good luck with your case.