Man filling out an unemployment insurance appeal

When You Should Hire an Unemployment Lawyer

Losing your job is never easy, especially if you have been denied the benefits you ought to have. You may be wondering if you need legal counsel or assistance to get what you deserve.  If any of the following applies to you, then you should start looking for an unemployment lawyer.

You are entitled to unemployment benefits--but you haven't received them.

Just because you're unemployed doesn't mean you automatically receive unemployment benefits. To be considered for unemployment benefits, you must have lost (or left) your job under particular circumstances. For instance, you can't expect to be eligible for benefits if you were fired for poor performance or if you quit because you got tired of your job.

Each state has legal standards that define what a "good reason" for quitting your job is. Unhappiness with the responsibilities of the role won't cut it; you need a more serious rationale, such as having a truly intolerable working environment. Quitting your job due to continued and unresolved sexual harassment would be considered a legitimate reason.

Most states also consider people eligible if they quit their job due to urgent life circumstances like a sudden disability or debilitating illness. If you're denied benefits after leaving for a reason of similar standing, you ought to make an appeal. An unemployment lawyer can be of great assistance during this process.

You believe you were unfairly fired.

Did you suspect you lost your job due to discrimination? Although there are protected classes, such as age, race, and even pregnancy, there are employers who will act upon their prejudices. Be sure to keep any evidence that would be beneficial to your case; in an unemployment appeal, you are trying to prove that you were fired without good reason, not that you were discriminated against. Those matters would have to be dealt with in a discrimination case. However, your unemployment lawyer will analyze your employer’s strategy in court. Afterwards, if you decide to pursue a discrimination case, your lawyer’s input can assist you in your approach.

Remember: an unemployment lawyer may or may not be worth it.

Weigh the costs of hiring an unemployment lawyer against the compensation you may receive. Lawyers are no minor expense. You could be looking at steep fees of up to $30,000 if you have a lawyer with you every step of the way. With affordability in mind, it may not be worth hiring an unemployment lawyer if you aren't set to receive benefits exceeding the cost of hire. Instead, consider using a lawyer for initial counsel and consultation, and proceed with the claims appeal on your own. 

Last Updated: June 09, 2015