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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 7141
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Hello, Have a phone hearing coming up next week for an appeal

Resolved Question:

Hello,

Have a phone hearing coming up next week for an appeal filed for an unemployment benefits disqualification; the disqualification is on the grounds of being medically unfit to take up employment. Please let me what evidence should help clearly demonstrate that this is absolutely not true. Also, any guidance on how best to prepare oneself for the hearing would be very helpful.

Thanks.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Good afternoon and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Normally an applicant will not be qualified on medical grounds unless there is specific evidence indicating an inability to accept work. Are you aware what prompted the EDD to deny your claim on this basis? Do you have evidence indicating to the contrary?

I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

EDD called twice to check on the unemployment status - at the first call the claimant could not talk well due to cold/flu symptoms and asked for for a new appointment time. At the 2nd call, the claimant was inaccessible (due to personal reasons) and a family member, answering the call, asked if he (the claimant) could call back. EDD hung up the phone and the next correspondence was simply a notice of disqualification from EDD on the ground stated earlier. EDD's records on the 2nd call states that the claimant was unavailable due to health reasons - which is simply not true!

 

Evidence is available that (hopefully) clearly indicates that the claimant did not have any medical condition that could limit him from searching for or accepting employment not only at the time of the 2nd call, but over the past +3 months, since the date of disqualification.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Sau,

Thank you very much for your reply. I am very sorry to hear about this disqualification, which indeed seems extremely unfair.

The good news is that disqualification on the basis of physical inability to work is not an absolute disqualification--it's force and effect continues only for so long as the EDD finds you unable to work. So, at the very least you are looking at a disqualification from the date the EDD determined you were unable to work to the first date you are able to demonstrate to the hearing officer's satisfacton that you became healthy.

Your best form of proof to demonstrate physical ability to work is a doctor's note or certification so stating. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, consider requesting a written statement that they are unaware of any dibilitating health problems in the relevant time frame. If they won't provide that, at least ask for a certification that you are presently in good health and able to work.

Aside from a doctor's note, there are still a varity of other forms of evidence that can support your position, such as statements from your family members who will attest to your health in the past weeks. If you can provide a billing statement from your helath insurance which reflects an absence of charges (indicating that you were in good health), that would also be helpful. Since this is an administrative proceeding and not a cour hearing, the standards for admissible evidence are low, so anything that tends to prove your case will usually be allowed in.

In regard to the hearing itself, you would be wise to bring a notebook and pen to take notes. If you don't win, your notes will come in handy for a second level appeal.

You should arrive at the hearing at least 15 minutes early. You'll need the time to park and locate the room where the hearing will be. Relax, make notes if you have to, and mentally prepare everything that you are going to say.

The hearing will be tape recorded, so be sure to speak clearly and slowly. You don't want to rush your answers, but you also don't want to take too long before speaking, as that will make it seem as though you're fabricating testimony or are simply unprepared. Try counting to two before responding to each question.

After the hearing, you'll receive a letter in the mail with the judge's decision. The EDD will also release all the checks it's been holding onto if they reverse their denial decision. They all may show up at once or not.

Finally, as noted above, keep in mind that this is an administrative proceeding, NOT a court trial. The rules of evidence and the procedure in general is very different. Things will be much more lax in terms of what is admissible and what is not. The whole process is far less formal.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes and kindest regards.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for the detailed & very useful response!


 


One clarification, the hearing is via 'phone' - this was not requested but was stated in the 'Notice of Hearing'.


 


In this scenario, can you please provide some insight on the hearing 'do's and don'ts' and, otherwise, any information that can help us ensure the claimant follows the right process/protocols.



Thanks again for the excellent info. All the best.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Sau,

Thank you for your reply and kind words. With telephonic hearings, the essential format will be the same--you will be given an opportunity to present all of your relevant evidence (along with a written statement which you should be able to submit in advance), and your former employer will be afforded that same right. Then, the hearing officer may ask either or both of you questions.

When it comes to telephonic hearings, I think the written statement becomes even more important because the hearing officer has less else to go on. For this reason, you will want to make sure your statement is well organized and, in particular, that your exhibits (e.g., notes from your doctor, insurance records, etc.) are clearly marked for ease of reference by the hearing officer.

I cannot stress enough the importance of using a land line if possible. It will both be easier to hear and there will be no chance of a disconnection. Avoiding the risk of getting cut off is espeically important in your case because it seems your denial was based in part on your inaccesibility during previous phone interviews. It's also wise to always avoid speaker phone. These will be conference calls and if you are using the speaker phone function, it will create a lot of echo and be harder for everyone to hear. These are basic tips I follow whenever making telephonic court appearances and I've always found them helpful.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards XXXXX XXXXX of luck at your hearing!
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7141
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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