California Unemployment Appeals Lawyer
Losing your job is devastating enough. Being denied unemployment benefits adds insult to injury. Unfortunately, California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) frequently rejects claims unjustly, leaving families struggling to stay afloat.
Don’t give up hope. You have the right to appeal an unemployment denial - and win. At TONG LAW, our California unemployment appeals lawyers have helped many people like you navigate California’s complex unemployment appeals process. We partner with you to build a compelling case, overturn denials, and get you the benefits you deserve.
If you have been denied your benefits, let us help. Contact our law firm to speak to an attorney.
Common Reasons EDD Denies Unemployment Benefits
While eligibility criteria vary, some frequent grounds for unemployment claim denials in California include:
Quitting Without Good Cause
If you voluntarily quit, EDD will investigate whether you had “good cause” under the law. Examples like dangerous work conditions or a family emergency may qualify. But more subjective reasons like job dissatisfaction often do not meet the legal standard, prompting denials.
EDD will disqualify claims if it decides you were fired for willful misconduct. Even a single policy violation - like absenteeism - could result in benefits denial. However, minor offenses and good faith errors typically do not constitute misconduct.
Refusing Suitable New Work
Turning down a comparable job offer will lead EDD to deny benefits. But if the pay, hours, or location were substantially different from your prior job, refusing may not disqualify you.
Failing to Meet Eligibility Criteria
Not earning enough during your base employment period, seeking work, or being available to accept work if offered can all spur ineligibility findings. EDD may also allege eligibility issues if you did not comply with certification requirements.
If EDD denies your claim for any reason, don’t panic. Our unemployment appeals attorneys can evaluate whether their rationale withstands legal scrutiny. Many denials stem from misapplying the rules or misunderstanding circumstances. With the right review of your case, flawed denials can be successfully overturned.
Step-by-Step Guide to Appealing Unemployment Denials in California
The unemployment denial appeal process has strict deadlines. Here is how it works:
1. Request an Appeal Hearing Within 30 Days
Once you receive EDD’s notice of determination disqualifying you from benefits, you must request an appeal hearing within 30 days. Write EDD immediately to exercise appeal rights and preserve the hearing date.
2. Gather Documents and Testimony to Support Your Case
Collecting evidence upfront strengthens your odds of winning the hearing. Relevant records may include emails, HR policies, timecards, performance reviews, separation agreements, and medical documentation. Sworn witness statements also hold significant weight.
3. Present Your Case at the EDD Hearing
Most appeal hearings now occur by phone. When it is your turn, explain to the Administrative Law Judge why EDD’s decision was legally incorrect or based on inaccurate facts. Highlight supporting evidence and testify credibly.
4. Receive the Written Decision
After the hearing, the Office of Appeals will issue a written ruling either affirming or overturning the denial. If you win, they must promptly pay all owed benefits.
But they don’t always get it right, either. If they rule against you, options like further appeals can still win the day.
Further Appeals Beyond EDD
For claimants with very strong cases, pursuing additional appeals after an unsuccessful appeal hearing makes sense. Two potential options include:
Appeal to Higher Courts
If EDD denies your appeal, you can file a second-level appeal with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAD) within 30 calendar days from the date of the ALJ's decision. In most cases, the board will not accept additional evidence; however, you have ten days from the date of the confirmation letter to ask the board to present new evidence at the board’s discretion.
The Appeals Board will provide a written decision that concludes the administrative process.
File a Writ of Mandate
If you disagree with the Board's decision, they may file a Writ of Mandate with the Superior Court within six months of receiving the written decision. This petition asks the Superior Court to review and overturn CUIAB’s ruling as legally flawed.
Why Work With an Unemployment Appeals Attorney?
The appeals hearing is like a trial. During the appeals hearing, you will have the opportunity to make an opening statement, cross-examine witnesses, and make a closing statement. Appellants without representation can struggle to effectively make legal arguments and question witnesses.
At the hearing, the judge may question you directly. The employer can also cross-examine you. It is important to be prepared for the hearing. An experienced employment lawyer can help you prepare for the hearing. Having an Unemployment Appeals Attorney means that you will have an advocate on your side to help you prepare for the hearing and during the hearing.
With so much at stake, working with a seasoned unemployment appeals lawyer levels the playing field. Benefits include:
Rigorously vetting and strengthening your case before the hearing
Polished presentation of legal arguments and evidence
Strategic cross-examination of EDD representatives
Drafting compelling post-hearing briefs
Handling writs and additional appeals if needed
At TONG LAW, we are experienced in representing Applicants throughout the unemployment appeals process. Our attorneys have successfully handled hundreds of appeals before Administrative Law Judges and higher courts. If EDD wrongly denied your benefits, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Our goal is to get you the unemployment income on which you rely.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the common reasons EDD denies unemployment claims in California?
The top reasons EDD denies claims are eligibility issues, quitting without good cause, misconduct violations, refusing suitable work, and certification non-compliance. Errors and lack of evidence also contribute to denials.
How much time do I have to appeal a denial of California unemployment benefits?
You must appeal an EDD denial within 30 calendar days from the date on their notice of determination. Request an appeal hearing in writing as soon as possible. Appeals even one day late will be rejected.
Should I hire a lawyer for help appealing a denial of unemployment benefits in California?
Yes, retaining an experienced unemployment appeals attorney improves your odds of winning. They know appeal procedures, can build the strongest case, and effectively represent you at the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Fight for the Benefits You Deserve with TONG LAW
Losing your livelihood is hard enough without having your safety net benefits ripped away, too. Don’t let EDD’s wrongful denial go unchallenged another day. The dedicated unemployment appeals team at TONG LAW has a proven track record of winning reversals and getting our clients the benefits they need.
We know California law and how to help appellants. With effective legal representation on your side, you give yourself the best shot at overcoming wrongful denials. Contact our knowledgeable attorneys at TONG LAW and get the benefits you deserve.