Do you know what to do when you receive an unemployment hearing notice? NAE is hearing from employers that there seems to be an increase in the number of unemployment claims going to hearing. While it may appear that way, the perceived increase is likely due to the fact that there are less unemployment claims being filed right now due to Nevada’s low unemployment rate.

We understand the hardship that these hearings can bring on employers and we are ready to assist when necessary. We can provide insight and guidance to the hearing process and give advice for how to respond when asked hard questions.

There are a few important details we like to share with employers as they get unemployment claims – whether or not those claims go to hearing. These steps will help you if and when a hearing is scheduled.

The goal is to provide all the necessary details up front. Do not hold anything back. If the claimant has previous warnings, write ups, and any other documentation of the issue(s) that lead to termination of employment, submit that information. If there were policy violations, send copies of the relevant pages of the handbook to show what those policies are and how they were violated. Don’t forget to send the signed acknowledgment, showing they knew about the policy, as well. You can even send them a copy of a drug screen that did not meet company policy. By giving all the information in the beginning, you are helping the referee make an informed decision.

Be professional in your responses. If unemployment calls asking for a rebuttal to the claimant’s statements or additional information to support your position, submit your response in writing. Do not feel that you must provide an immediate verbal response. A written response will ensure that your position gets documented in the file and you can respond completely and professionally.

Sometimes, the claimant makes accusations that are untrue or what you believe to be stretching the truth. It’s tempting to respond verbally right then and there to address those inaccuracies. Don’t do it. By taking the time to respond in writing, you are potentially helping your case if you handle it correctly. NAE can help review documentation and assist with the editing of your statement.

When you receive the hearing notice, download the hearing packet as outlined in the hearing notice as soon as possible. It contains information that may be valuable to you as you prepare for the hearing.

Read through the information presented and make note of employees mentioned in the statement from the claimant. Often, those employees are the supervisors of the claimant or witnesses to the events that lead to termination of employment and would make the best witnesses for the hearing. We encourage employers to identify who should participate in the hearing and schedule a time to review the details with them a few days prior to the hearing. It is important that all witnesses know the details well so they can reference them during the hearing and respond appropriately to questions from the hearing referee.

When you have identified your witnesses and representatives, call or fax your information to the unemployment office at the number referenced in the hearing notice. Again, you are adding the documentation to the file.

On the day of the hearing, be sure to check your phones to ensure the hearing referee will be able to reach you. Have the hearing packet and all relevant documentation ready for reference during the hearing. The hearing referee will want the witnesses sequestered during the hearing. Plan for your witnesses to be in another room but easily reached when it is their time to testify.

If you aren’t being addressed at the moment, it’s important to mute your phone. Not only does this avoid the distraction of rustling papers or the tapping of keyboard keys, it prevents you from responding in frustration or anger. Maintain a calm voice when speaking and don’t respond out of turn. This hearing is your opportunity to share your side of the story but avoid sharing any information that was not already included in the hearing packet.

When in doubt, contact NAE. We will walk you through the process. It is easy to get overwhelmed, but do not stress. We can explain the process, the potential impact to your business, and make sure that you are aware of the different possible outcomes.