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How To Win An Unemployment Claim Hearing

The Texas Unemployment Compensation Act provides benefits for qualified individuals in Texas who lose their jobs.  When an individual files an unemployment claim with the Texas Workforce Commission, the TWC will obtain a response from the company and make a preliminary determination.  If the company or individual is unhappy with that decision, the case will then be set for a telephone hearing where the parties can ask questions and present evidence.  Even though the system is designed to function without attorneys, I see individuals making mistakes in telephone hearings that often compromise their chance of obtaining their unemployment benefits.  There are three things to remember when preparing for an unemployment compensation hearing in Texas. 1.  Know the standard.  In Texas an individual is generally entitled to unemployment benefits (assuming he worked the requisite time for his previous employer) unless he was terminated for misconduct or resigned without good cause.  Consequently, if you are terminated for poor performance, laid off or resign for medical reasons you will usually be entitled to benefits.  2.  Stick to the point.  The biggest mistake employees make in these hearings is trying to offer evidence or give testimony about issues that don't matter.  The hearing officer doesn't care that you were a good performer.  She is only interested in whether you were discharged for misconduct or quit without good cause, and she listens all day to employees wasting her time trying to offer irrelevant information instead of giving her the information she needs to make a decision.  Know the standard (see point #1) and make sure your testimony, documentary evidence and any questions you have for the company witnesses are narrowly tailored to show you didn't commit misconduct or resign without good cause, as the case may be. 3.   Learn from the hearing officer's questions.   Listen to the questions the hearing officer asks the company representatives and you will see what is important to her in making her decision.  If she is asking questions about company policies and whether you were given written warnings before termination be prepared to answer those questions when she questions you.  When she questions you, just answer the questions she asks you.  You will be tempted to data dump and just download your whole story on her.  This will only hurt your case and frustrate the hearing officer.  She's asking you a certain question because that information is important to her decision.  Give it to her directly and succinctly. I hope this helps you if you should ever find yourself fighting for your unemployment benefits.  GSF

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