Astoria, NY asked in Appeals / Appellate Law and Employment Law for New York

Q: I am fighting an unemployment case I had a hearing and a appeal now it has to go for another motion to dispute

is it to late to get a attorney involved

1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You might try a law school clinic which allows law students to learn while helping clients who lack the legal skills necessary to uncover evidence which may have been misinterpreted or not addressed. Of course if the evidence was not introduced into the record that will be problematic.

Your problem is that you probably did not vigorously cross examine witnesses and evidence against you. And you might not have addressed key issues although unemployment judges usually ask questions to clarify (i.e. help) parties who are not represented.

Lawyers can not charge you unless you win and most of us don't have the time to read transcripts which you should have by now to determine whether we might recover a modest amount of attorney's fees only if we succeed. All legal fees for unemployment hearings and appeals must be approved by DOL.

So those of us who occasionally accept such a case do so to make sure a claimant wins, usually in cases where we intend to earn our regular hourly rates which are not that common. Those hearings can provide us with trial runs of how our clients might present and the caliber of employer witnesses for discrimination complaints.

When an employer denies an employee unemployment the employer often believes that their legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for termination is strong and they wish to send a message.

I have even seen employers go back and reopen claims where an employee was awarded benefits and later the employer obtains information which supports denying benefits and the determination is reversed.

New York State generally wants to award benefits unless it believes an employee's actions rose to gross misconduct as supported by the evidence. Credibility determinations are at the judge's discretion and I have participated in telephone hearings where I heard my own client not being truthful and had I not rehabilitated them over the phone (never having even met my own client in person - I have a number of those) they would have lost their claim.

It's better to do hearings telephonically because listening carefully without distractions uncovers hesitations, pauses and inconsistencies which can destroy an otherwise valid claim. When you meet a lawyer in person either you or they may want to have a case or a claim when a telephone conference may have been a better option for true objectivity.

Neither you nor we can make up facts on which employment claims rest and there are many many factors to consider. Good luck!

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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