Myths That Will Destroy Your Unemployment Claim

Ohio’s unemployment compensation is an invaluable part of this state’s support system that keeps our workforce strong, and the lights on, during the job search process.  However, here are toxic myths about the system that cause people not to file or, worse yet, not to pursue their appeals.

I cannot claim unemployment because I was fired.

Ohio allows an individual who is terminated to claim unemployment benefits, so long as the employee was not at fault for the termination.  The employer must show they had just cause to terminate.

My coworker got fired for the same reason and they got their unemployment, so I will too.

What might be just cause for one person might not be just cause for another.  The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services  decides your case based on your facts, not on someone else’s.

Let’s take two examples.  Sandy is a salesperson, and works from home.  She has no office, but is required to log 40 hours of work every week.  It doesn’t really matter if Sandy logs her hours from 8 until 4 every day, just so long as she gets the work done.  If she sleeps in fifteen minutes from her usual start time and gets started later, assuming no other issues, nothing bad happens to her employer.

Bob drives an armored car for cash pickup.  He has a strict schedule to obey.  If Bob is fifteen minutes late for work in the morning and doesn’t start his run on time, problems arise for his employer and the clients.

As a result, if Bob is tardy three times his employer might have just cause to terminate him, but Sandy's employer might not have just cause to terminate her for three tardies.  It depends on the facts, the rules, the work histories and more.

My boss was rude and mean, so I quit.  I will get benefits if I explain how rude he was.

While it can certainly play a role in quitting, this is an exceptionally high bar to clear.  You have to show your boss' behavior was so extreme that you could no longer work there, AND you notified your employer of the problem, AND you gave your employer adequate time to resolve the problem.

I will get unemployment because my employer said they would not contest it.

This can be tragic in two occasions.  First, people change their minds.  An employer who tells you that they won’t contest your unemployment may decide that they will contest it after they see what it could do to their tax rates.  While they may have made an agreement with you and you could conceivably take them to court for their breach of that agreement (assuming all contract formalities were obeyed), that doesn’t keep your electric bill paid and food in your pantry.

Second, it is the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services that determines whether you are entitled to benefits, not your old employer. Oftentimes, answers to simple, non-threatening questions can make your separation look like it’s a disqualifying one.  Claims can be denied even if your employer does not respond to ODJFS or contest your unemployment.

I have a new job lined up, so it does not matter if I get denied unemployment.

While a new job is certainly something to be happy about, one should be careful about things like probationary periods. If your new employer suddenly decides that they don’t like your work and you never filed for unemployment regarding your last job, you may find yourself in a tight spot where you can’t claim benefits from either.

Even worse, you could miss the window for filing your first claim and be barred forever from obtaining benefits through that employer, even if your separation was not a disqualifying one.

I have to quit to care for my ill spouse, but I worked many years so I will get unemployment

In Ohio, resigning for family obligations is a sure way to find yourself disqualified for unemployment benefits, whether it is to care for an ill spouse, or even if your employer changes your schedule to one you cannot work because you need to take care of your children.  The rule is unfair and wrong, but it is the law.

I can handle the unemployment appeals myself and get a lawyer if I lose.

There are three appeal steps with Ohio Unemployment. (1) They will issue a Determination Notice that can be appealed in writing within 21 days. They will then answer that appeal with a Redetermination Notice. (2) If the Redetermination Notice is appealed, they will transfer the case to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission, which will schedule a Telephone Hearing. That Hearing Officer's Decision will in almost every case be the final decision. (3) Although it can be appealed, appeals at that level are routinely disallowed without another hearing because they defer to the Telephone Hearing Officers.

Therefore, one needs to prepare for the UCRC Telephone Hearing as though it will be the final decision. If you are going to seek legal help, it should be done before this hearing.

Free Consultations

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.

Affordable Legal Help

We offer fee options that understand the cost of  legal help can be difficult when you are unemployed. In many PUA cases, we offer a minimal flat fee for representation through the PUA system and the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission.

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 entire State of Ohio.


"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!"


"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."


"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."


"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!!"  


"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!"


"There are only good things to be said about this Law Firm, Attorney Brian Smith and Attorney John Sivinski.  I was blindsided by separation at my former employment and then denied unemployment benefits as well.  In addition to the denial of benefits, I also lost two rounds of appeals.  Before my third appeal, which involved a phone hearing, I was very fortunate to find this Law Firm.  They were meticulous and extremely experienced in helping to turn the situation around."


"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."


"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!"


"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!"


"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!"


"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!"  


"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!!!"


"I would absolutely recommend Law Offices of Brian J. Smith, ltd. Brian and John worked with my (juvenile) son and I on a very challenging case. The case even went to the Supreme Court. . . We wouldn’t have WON without their experience and dedication. They were very professional, considerate and understanding especially when things became overwhelming for us. We couldn’t be more thankful for their services."

Unemployment Consultations

If you contact us for a free consultation regarding your unemployment case, there are some important questions you should be prepared to answer:

We attempt to respond to every request for an Ohio unemployment consultation the same day it is received. Due to a large volume of requests for consultations, we are occasionally unable to respond until the following business day.  Double check your email address so you can receive a response. If you leave a number for us to call you back on, be sure that your voicemail is set up so we can leave a message if you are unable to answer or screening your calls.

Out-of-Office Notice - through August 3, 2023

While we typically encourage and provide free consultations every day, Mr. Smith will be unavailable to provide consultations until August 4, 2023. He will be available for free consultations after that time.

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Please keep in mind that the success of any legal matter depends on the unique circumstances of each case and we cannot guarantee particular results for future clients based on successes we have achieved in past legal matters.