Ohio Unemployment Hearings:
What to Expect

Your Unemployment Hearing is the most important stage of the unemployment compensation appeal process.  In all likelihood, it will be the final decision regarding your unemployment compensation.  No further hearings, and no further evidence, will be permitted after your unemployment hearing.  Here is an overview of what to expect during your unemployment hearing to help you be fully prepared.

Improve Your Chance to Obtain Benefits

The unemployment benefit appeal process does provide opportunities to obtain a determination in your favor, but you must have knowledge of the laws, the rules, and have the required tools to obtain and present evidence on your behalf.

The fact is, ODJFS does not operate based on what you know to be true, unless that truth can be shown to them, proven to them, and explained in a way that they can understand that Ohio statutes and rules require them to give you benefits.

The Ohio Unemployment Lawyers at Smith's Law Offices have the expertise and experience to navigate through the Unemployment Appeal process and to present the best case possible to obtain the benefits you deserve.   It is a simple decision: If you want to increase your chances of obtaining benefits, take advantage of a free consultation with the Ohio Unemployment Lawyers at Smith's Law Offices.

Hearing Notice

If your unemployment claim proceeds to a hearing, you will receive a notice that the case is being transferred to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC). This notice provides important information about your hearing, including (a) how to request your file; (b) how to subpoena witnesses and documents; and (c) how to submit documents for the hearing.

Requesting File

This is important, because the file will include more than the notices you have received, but also everything that has been submitted to ODJFS by you and your former employer, as well as responses to questionnaires, notes of telephone conversations with ODJFS, and perhaps a more detailed explanation of why ODJFS is making the decisions that it is.  Additionally, the Hearing Officer will have this file and may refer to it during the hearing, so you will want to have it to follow what is being referred to. Request your file immediately.

Subpoenas

Subpoenas can compel witnesses to attend the hearing and can be used to obtain documents from your former employer.  If there is a witness or document that you KNOW will help you, this is a valuable tool.  However, do not use it to fish.  Whatever documents you subpoena will be provided to the Hearing Officer, so if you are uncertain whether they will help you, you take a risk by requesting them.  Also, be careful when deciding whether to have current employees as witnesses, because they may become concerned about their own job security and clam up during the actual hearing while their boss is on the line.  Subpoenas can be requested up to 5 days before the hearing, but they should be requested as early as possible.

Submitting Exhibits

If you have already submitted documents, they will already be included in the file.  However, if you have other documents that you want to submit, follow the instructions to do so.  You may do so up within 14 days of receiving this notice.

Scheduling

Once your ODJFS file is transferred to the UCRC and they schedule your hearing, you will receive another notice with the date and time of the hearing and the telephone number to call.  Do NOT miss your hearing, as there are only very limited reasons ODJFS will excuse your failure to attend.

You may request to hold the hearing in person.  Generally, this should only be done when there is an important reason to do so. For example, the case may depend upon a video or visual exhibit that all parties should view together.

The Hearing

Calling In

On the day of your hearing, call in 15 minutes early.  You will provide your name and number.  Once the Hearing Officer is ready to begin, she will call you and all other parties and place you into a conference call.  The Hearing Officer will begin the hearing with a brief introduction. The hearing will be scheduled for 45 minutes, and the Hearing Officer will do what she can to keep it within that time limit.  However, if it needs to run over it may be scheduled for a second hearing.

Witnesses

In most cases, if you were terminated, the Hearing Officer will start with the employer and their witnesses.  If you resigned, the Hearing Officer will start with you instead. Based on what she sees in the file, she will ask each witness questions.  The witness will then be given the opportunity to add more, or if they are represented their representative will ask them further questions.  The other side will then be given the opportunity to cross examine each witness.

Closing Statements

At the end of the hearing, each party will be given a brief amount of time (e.g., 2 minutes) to give a closing statement – summarizing their position.

The Decision

You will not receive a decision on the day of the hearing. Rather, the Hearing Officer will close the hearing and draft their decision. In most cases, we find decisions are issued within a week, though it is not unusual for it to take a few weeks for the decision to be issued.

Obtaining Representation

Smith's Law Offices prides itself by its thorough representation during hearings.  We take care of requesting the hearing, requesting a copy of the ODJFS file, making strategic decisions about subpoenas and witnesses and request them when appropriate, and we submit exhibits in the proper format for the hearing.  We review the evidence, talk with you, and come to decisions about what are the main issues, what are the main points in contention, and what the Hearing Officer needs to be convinced of to rule in your favor.  

We give you guidance regarding how to conduct yourself during the hearing and we call into the hearing with you – so we may cross examine the employer’s witnesses, help you to explain your position to the hearing officer, and we provide the closing statement.  By becoming fully prepared for the hearing, and focusing on the important issues, you will find yourself comfortable and able to have your case presented in a compelling manner that will increase your likelihood of success.

No Fees Until You Win

Smith's Law Offices offers Free Initial Consultations. We additionally offer contingency agreements whenever possible, with no up-front fee.

We collect a fee ONLY if we are successful in obtaining your unemployment benefits for you.

You have nothing to risk or lose by calling Smith's Law Offices for your free consultation, so call us today before any of your unemployment appeal rights are lost. Whether you just received an unemployment denial and need to appeal or are about to have an unemployment hearing, we can help.

Statewide Representation

Because unemployment determinations are appealed in writing, and the hearings are conducted by telephone, Smith's Law Offices successfully represents clients throughout the State of Ohio.

Recent Cases/News

Poor Judgement May Not Be Sufficient Fault or Misconduct to Justify Termination:
The Hearing Officer agreed that our client may have taken an act at work that demonstrated poor judgement, it was not an act that demonstrated a disregard of the employer's interests or of sufficient fault/misconduct to justify termination. The employer's delay of three months to terminate the employee after the act was also a factor leading to the hearing officer approving unemployment compensation.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
December 7, 2018
Calling a co-worker a Peppa Pig Does Not Give Just Cause to Terminate:
Our client and a co-worker were having an argument during which the co-worker was called a Peppa Pig. The Hearing officer agreed that there was not sufficient fault or misconduct to justify termination.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
December 4, 2018
Unemployment approved after resignation due to physical limitations:
Our client took a job while unemployed that was physically demanding. When the job turned out to be too much for him, he attempted to move to another position at the employer but was unable. The Hearing Officer agreed that this was just cause to resign.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
November 20, 2018
Employer lacked just cause to terminate for performance issues:
We showed that the employer failed to make its performance expectations known at time of hire and that the employee met the expectations.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
November 16, 2018
Employee was not insubordinate:
A second shift lead told our client, who worked on third shift, to complete a task but the third shift lead gave different instructions. The Hearing Officer agreed that the employer lacked just cause to terminate for insubordination because our client was correct in following the directions of his immediate lead.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
November 5, 2018
No just cause to terminate for owning a side business:
Employer who terminated our client for a perceived conflict from owning a side business lacked just cause because there was insufficient evidence of a real conflict of interest.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
November 5, 2018
Employer lacked credibility:
After prepping our client for the telephone hearing and cross-examining the employer’s witnesses, the hearing officer concluded that our client was more credible and the employer’s claims that it gave prior warnings for performance issues was unsupported.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
October 26, 2018
Expectations must be known at time of hire:
The employer subjected our client to tests during orientation and then terminated her when she did not pass one. The Hearing Officer agreed that, because the employer did not inform her before she was hired that she would have to pass the tests, it did not have just cause to terminate her when she was unable to pass one.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
October 18, 2018
No just cause to terminate employee who refused work for medical reasons:
When our client was placed indefinitely in a position that caused him pain due to a medical condition, and as a result he called off until he was placed in another position, the employer terminated him. The Hearing Officer agreed that the employer lacked just cause and approved our client for benefits.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
October 18, 2018
Members of LLC’s Filing as a C-Corp and paid a salary are eligible:
Our client had been denied benefits because he was not only a salaried employee, but also a member of an LLC filing as a C-Corp. The Hearing Officer agreed that, regardless of being a part owner, he was eligible for benefits.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
October 17, 2018
Truck driver who worked primarily in Ohio for company located in a different state is eligible:
A company paid unemployment taxes to another state for an employee who lived in and worked primarily in Ohio. The Hearing Officer agreed that he was eligible for Ohio Unemployment Compensation.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
October 10, 2018
Complaining about a failure to give a raise is not just cause to terminate:
Employer lacked just cause to terminate an employee for repeatedly raising his concerns that he was not paid a raise he was promised and for an unsubstantiated complaint.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
September 24, 2018
Employer effectively terminates employee without just cause, even though the words, "You are fired-" were not used:
The employer told our client that he did not "give a f*** about" her, that he had, "no use for her anymore," that her "career was on the line" and that she had until the end of the day to "prove her worth" to him at which point he hung up the phone- cut off her access to the company's database and her company cell phone was deactivated. The Hearing Officer agreed that this was effectively a termination and the employer lacked just cause.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
August 30, 2018
When you call off and send an email, it is not a no-call/no-show:
Although our client attempted to call off but could not leave a message and sent an email to human resources reporting off, the employer terminated him for a no-call/no-show. The hearing officer agreed that this was not a no-call/no-show.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
August 27, 2018
Employer Lacked Just Cause to Terminate:
Employer failed to present sufficient evidence to support its claim that it had just cause to terminate an employee for failing to inspect a part.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
August 24, 2018
US Postal Service Lacked Just Cause to Terminate:
The Hearing Officer agreed that the employer lacked just cause to terminate our client for leaving his vehicle running while he was inside a postal facility gathering mail for his route.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
August 15, 2018
No just cause to terminate for a providing insufficient sample for drug test:
The employer had a policy that required random testing during work hours. Our client was selected, scheduled to take a test within a half-hour of her shift ending, provided a sample that was insufficient, and had to leave due to prior commitments. In this case, the Hearing Officer agreed that the policy was not applied reasonably and therefore the employer lacked just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
August 9, 2018
Employer lacked just cause to terminate an employee who was attacked by a co-worker:
The Hearing Officer agreed that our client who was attacked by a co-worker did not instigate the altercation and merely protected herself.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
August 8, 2018
Employers should follow their own discipline policies:
The Hearing Officer agreed that an employer who skipped steps in its progressive discipline policy did not have just cause to terminate our client.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
July 30, 2018
Absences due to circumstances beyond employee's control are not just cause for termination:
The Hearing Officer agreed that an employee's absences due to his ailing wife or because of his own illness were circumstances beyond the employee's control and did not give the employer just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
July 13, 2018
Employer lacked just cause to terminate for sleeping on the job and for excessive use of his cell phone:
The Hearing Officer concluded that the employer failed to provide sufficient evidence that it followed its progressive discipline policy and that the employee actually violated a policy.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
July 12, 2018
Hearsay and unsubstantiated testimony and evidence insufficient:
The Hearing Officer agreed that the employer failed to present sufficient evidence of misconduct in light of the employee's credible testimony denying misconduct.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
June 6, 2018
Employer did not have just cause to terminate employee who it failed to train and failed to provide notice of performance issues:
The employer hired our client but failed to provide any training for how to do their job and failed to provide timely notice of their mistakes until they were terminated. The Hearing Officer agreed that they lacked just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
June 5, 2018
Employee who was terminated after they gave a resignation notice is approved:
The Employee resigned with a two-day notice, the employer sent the employee home and did not pay them for the remaining two days. The Hearing Officer agreed that this should be looked at as a termination rather than a resignation, and there was not just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
May 14, 2018
Hearsay evidence and unsubstantiated evidence insufficient to prove just case:
Attending the hearing fully prepared- we persuaded the hearing officer that the employer's reliance on hearsay and unsubstantiated evidence of our client being insubordinate was insufficient, especially in light of our client's credible testimony.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
May 10, 2018
Employer cannot force employee into position they can not medically do:
The employer first cut our client's hours and then- despite our client's medical restrictions, attempted to force her into a position she was unable to work. The Hearing Officer agreed that the employer did not have just cause to terminate her for being unable to complete the work.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
May 1, 2018
Employee had good cause to turn down work:
An employer terminated our client- then offered her a job at half the pay. Although her benefits were initially denied- we were able to persuade the Hearing Officer that the work offered was not suitable and that she had good cause to turn it down.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
April 25, 2018
Employee nurse has just cause to quit for being required to perform duties beyond her expertise:
The Hearing Officer agreed that the nurse had just cause to quit, because the employer's decision to require her to perform duties beyond her expertise put her license and the possible well-being of the patients at risk.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
April 16, 2018
Employer failed to show that our client was at fault for an alleged argument:
Although the employer claimed it terminated our client for shouting at a supervisor, our client's testimony was more credible and the employer failed to show our client was at fault for any alleged argument about its own failure to provide sufficient parts.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
April 2, 2018
Absences for claimant's own illness and to care for ill family members does not give just cause to terminate:
The Hearing Officer agreed that the employer lacked just cause to terminate our client who had absences due to her own illness and that of her daughter and husband, and therefore approved her benefits.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
March 29, 2018
Employer lacked just cause to terminate an employee when he attempted to return from a medical leave of absence:
Our client attempted to return to work after a medical leave of absence only to find that the employer had laid off much of its workforce and refused to return his calls. The Hearing Officer agreed that the employer lacked just cause to terminate and approved his benefits.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
March 27, 2018
No just cause to terminate for being rude to a co-worker:
The Hearing Officer agreed that our client- who had no prior discipline, was terminated without just cause for an allegation of being rude to a co-worker. In part due to our preparation, the Hearing Officer concluded that our client's testimony was more credible than her employers.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
March 22, 2018
Holding a real estate license does not disqualify unemployment eligibility:
Our client worked full time and held a real estate license. He was initially denied unemployment when he lost his full-time job because his real estate license with held with a broker. The Hearing Officer reversed, finding that just because a real estate broker held the license, this did not create an employment relationship.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
March 19, 2018
Employer lacked just cause to terminate for a no-call/no-show:
The Hearing Officer did not agree with the employer that it had just cause to terminate for a no-call/no-show when the employee did call off to co-workers due to a bona fide medical illness.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
March 7, 2018
Employer lacked just cause to terminate employee when customers were happy with employee's performance:
The hearing officer was persuaded- in part due to statements from customers that they were happy with our client's performance, that the employer lacked just cause to terminate for failing to meet performance expectations.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
March 7, 2018
Employer lacked just cause to terminate employee for failing to meet expectations it did not explain:
When the employer promoted our client, it failed to explain the expectations of the new job and, therefore, lacked just cause to terminate the employee for failing to meet the unspoken expectations.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
March 6, 2018
Moving to a closer seat during a meeting is not violent behavior:
Employer alleged that our client made them feel intimidate, although it presented evidence of what our client did other that to move to a closer seat during a meeting. The employer lacked just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
March 1, 2018
Termination for being on worker's comp. leave without a release to return to work lacks just cause:
Our client was off of work on a worker's compensation leave- having been examined by the employe's doctor and not given a release to return to work. The employer lacked just cause to terminate the employee for being absent without authorization.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
February 26, 2018
Termination for failing to meet substantially changed duties lacks just cause:
The employer gave our client new duties to complete and then terminate our client for failing to complete those duties adequately. Because there had been a substantial change in the requirements for the position, the employer lacked just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
February 26, 2018
Termination for doing what you are told is without just cause:
Our client was sent to observe another employee- found the employee dressed inappropriately- took a photo that she shared with her supervisor, and was then terminated for taking the photo. The Hearing Officer agreed that this was not just cause for termination.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
February 22, 2018
Employer mistakenly believed employee was taking extended breaks:
We persuaded the Hearing Officer that the employer was mistaken when it accused our client of taking extended breaks and as a result it was held that the employer lacked just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
December 22, 2017
Requesting help is not insubordination:
The employer terminated our client believing he engage in insubordination when he asked for additional help- but the Hearing Officer agreed that the request was not insubordination an therefore the employer lacked just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
December 22, 2017
Employer lacked just cause to terminate employee for being rude:
The hearing officer agreed that the employer failed to show that the employee was rude during an informal meeting over a cup of coffee, and thus the employer lacked just cause to terminate.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
December 18, 2017
Employer with unclear job expectations lacked just cause to terminate:
The hearing officer agreed that the employer did not have just cause to terminate when it did not provide details about purported areas of concern and it was unclear about what it was expecting of the employee.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
December 12, 2017
Not all mistakes warrant termination:
Due to a lack of training, and employee who made a mistake at work was terminated without just cause.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
December 11, 2017
Facebook posts do not give just cause to terminate:
Employer did not have just cause to terminate an employee for his personal social media posts when they were posted from home, were not work related, and did not mention the employer.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
December 5, 2017
Termination for a customer complaint was without just cause:
The Employer did not have just cause to terminate for a customer complaint when the employee simply informed the customer of a store policy and the employer lacked evidence that she was rude when doing so.
  
Benefits Approved
September 21, 2017
When employer cuts your hours, you do not have to bump another employee before resigning:
After employee's hours were cut in half she resigned. The employer argued that she should have bumped into another position which would have still been a 20% reduction in hours. The Hearing Officer disagreed and approved her benefits.
  
Benefits Approved
September 19, 2017
Termination for absences due to medical reasons is without just cause:
Employee not sufficiently at fault for absences due to migraines even though the absences exceeded the points allowed by the employer's attendance policy.
  
Benefits Approved
September 7, 2017
Employer lacked evidence to justify termination for alleged assault:
Employer's claim that employee attempted to assault another employee was not credible.
  
Benefits Approved
September 5, 2017
Employee did not resign by leaving early from work:
Employer's claim employee resigned was refutted by employee's email informing the employer they were just leaving early due to illness.
  
Benefits Approved
August 30, 2017
Employer cannot claim an employee is on leave when they send a severance agreement:
Severance agreement showed employee was terminated and the employer lacked just cause.
  
Benefits Approved
August 30, 2017
Termination of employee who followed instructions was without just cause:
Demonstrated that the employee was terminated for following instructions.
  
Benefits Approved
August 29, 2017
Termination based on anonymous witness statements is without just cause:
Hearing officer agreed that employer could not show just cause to terminate when it relied solely upon anonymous witness statements.
  
Benefits Approved
August 16, 2017
No Just Cause to Terminate for Attendance:
The hearing officer agreed that the Employer did not show sufficient tardies to justify termination and it had told the employee instead that he was terminated due to a lack of work.
  
Benefits Approved
August 3, 2017
Resignation at Advise of Psychiatrist is With Cause:
Employee who resigned due to the impact of her job on her mental illness was eligible for unemployment compensation.
  
Benefits Approved
July 28, 2017
Employee Error Did Not Warrant Termination:
Employer lacked just cause to terminate an employee who was given unreasonable expectations.
  
Benefits Approved
July 7, 2017
Allegations of Falsification of Records Not Substantiated:
Sivinski Law Offices showed that the employee followed the normal practice and had permission to adjust records.
  
Benefits Approved
June 27, 2017
No Just Cause to Terminate Employee Absent Due to Daughter's Medical Reasons:
Employer lacked just cause to terminate employee with significant absences because it failed to give any progressive discipline and absences were due to daughter's bona fide illness.
  
Benefits Approved
June 22, 2017
Job Requirements Changed Substantially After Hiring:
Employee accused of failing to meet job expectations approved for benefits, including nearly $7,000 in back-payments, because the job substantially changed.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
June 20, 2017
Showed Employer Lacked Just Cause to Terminate:
It was shown that the employer lacked sufficient proof to terminate an employee for hanging up on a customer.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
June 8, 2017
Employee Had Just Cause to Resign:
Employee who was put on light duty had just cause to resign when the employer offered not positions that would conform to the light duty requirements.
  
Unemployment Appeal Won
June 2, 2017

"Professional, upfront, knowledgeable, made the whole appeals process way less stressful, made me feel comfortable at the hearing, and won my appeal! Highly recommend using!"
Josh

"Brian is a very good attorney and I am very happy with the way that he handled my unemployment case. He is very professional and informative and easy to talk to and he explains concerns very well. I would recommend him to anyone. He is very thorough and made me feel very confident with him handling my case. Thank you very much for your hard work in my case."
Valerie

"Thank you Brian for representing me with my unemployment case. I was over whelmed and devastated at the loss of my job after 27 years of employment. You was my rock that helped me through this nightmare, I couldn't have done it without you. You are very professional and easy to talk to, I appreciate all you did for me."
Sandra

"Excellent service, not only did I win my case but the level of customer service was phenomenal!! Anytime i had a question it was answered so that i could understand it.
I was also extremely prepared and ready before we went to court.
It was such a nice process. I would recommend this company to anyone i know!!"  
Jennifer

"Beat Walmart unemployment case!  Took the time to help me think this case through. Helped me prioritize the events that happened. Came up with a winning strategy that ultimately won my appeal hearing against the retail giant Walmart!" Brian

"Brian and John are the best .They go all out for you. Thank you John and Brian u guys are awesome"
Michele

"Brian is very responsive and very thorough. I was very nervous throughout the process, and he made me feel relaxed and confident. I would highly recommend Brian to all my friends and family because I am confident he will not let them down, he is very trustworthy and personable. Thanks so much Brian for your professionalism and you eagerness to go the extra mile. You are an excellent attorney." Sonya

"Mr. Smith is an amazing lawyer who listens and takes his time to make sure he understands every detail of your particular case. I would recommend him to my family/friends if ever needed. Mr. Smith helped me understand the procedure which helped me better prepare myself for my hearing. The outcome was exactly what we were looking for. Thank you!" Tiffinie

"I was extremely happy working Brian & John on my case.  They were very thorough & easy to talk with.  I would highly recommend them to anyone!"
Debra

"Great law firm.  My attorney help me immensely. My job fired me unjustly and they help me get my unemployment back. They help file everything and keep you updated on what going on. Very friendly and helpful. Wish these guys the best in the future!"
Chris

"Brian and his colleague John were incredibly helpful and supportive. Not only did they make me feel secure, I felt represented and heard. I won my case with their help and hard work! I highly recommend them for anyone who is having to fight their employer for unemployment. I can not thank them enough!"  
Amanda

"Brian Smith is the best! He handled my claim in a most timely manner an professional manner. Could not have done this by myself. Bravo!!!"
Doris

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The Law Offices of Brian J. Smith, ltd

20545 Center Ridge Road, Ste. 215
Rocky River, OH 44116
Phone: 800-641-1970
Fax: 855-241-0700
contact@sshllc.com
https://BrianSmithLaw.com

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