Unemployment Compensation Attorneys
COVID-19: If you are laid off or terminated due to the Coronavirus outbreak, you are eligible to file for unemployment benefits.
An Unemployment Lawyer in Springfield Working with Individuals Who Have Lost Their Jobs
If you have lost your job through no fault of your own or have left your employment voluntarily because of unacceptable workplace conditions, you may be entitled to significant unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, in some cases, people who should be collecting unemployment have difficulty getting their benefits because of vindictive employers or issues navigating complicated bureaucracy. To have an attorney review the facts of your case, please fill out and submit our online questionnaire with as many details as possible.
Losing your job can be emotionally and financially devastating. To provide some much-needed support for individuals and families in this difficult position, the state of Massachusetts created an unemployment insurance program. If you lose your job, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation through this insurance program.
Unfortunately, all too often, valid Massachusetts unemployment claims are wrongfully denied. At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, our experienced Springfield unemployment compensation attorneys fight for the legal rights of workers seeking their full and fair unemployment benefits. If your benefits have been denied, our team can help you file an appeal. From our office in downtown Springfield, we serve communities throughout the region, including Chicopee, Agawam, Holyoke, Westfield and West Springfield.
The Basics of Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance
In Massachusetts, the unemployment insurance program is administered by Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA). Funding for this insurance program comes from taxes paid by employers operating in the state. To be clear, not all workers who are separated from their jobs are eligible for benefits. Instead, Massachusetts unemployment insurance is designed to provide temporary income assistance to workers who:
Became unemployment through no fault of their own
Are still physically capable of working
Are actively seeking new employment
The Process for Filing a Massachusetts Unemployment Claim
If you have recently been laid off or fired from your job, it is imperative that you are prepared to file a claim for your unemployment benefits. Small mistakes or omissions made in the process can result in lengthy delays or even your claim being denied outright.
Further, if your initial application is rejected by the DUA, you have very limited time to exercise your rights to appeal the decision. To help you better understand unemployment compensation claims, the following is a basic overview of the process:
Initial filing: If you lose your job, you will not automatically receive unemployment benefits. Indeed, to obtain compensation, you are required to take proactive steps, which include filing a claim with the Massachusetts DUA. After your claim is filed, an adjudicator will soon reach out to you to begin investigating your case.
The DUA will talk to your employer: The adjudicator will also get in touch with your former employer in order to obtain additional information to assess your eligibility. Of course, this means that what your employer says, especially in regard to why you were terminated, matters a great deal.
A decision will be made: Ideally, your employer will present the circumstances honestly, the DUA will handle your claim fairly, and you will receive your benefits without any undue delay. Sadly, the process does not always go this smoothly. You may find, for a number of different reasons, that your initial unemployment compensation claim has been denied.
You can request a hearing: In the unfortunate event that your Massachusetts unemployment claim is denied, you will have ten days to request a hearing. Essentially, this is your first level of appeal. During your hearing, both you and your employer will have an opportunity to present any evidence that is relevant to your case. While you typically will not need an attorney for your initial filing, it is highly recommended that you bring a qualified attorney with you to your hearing.
You can escalate your claim to the Board of Review: If you receive another adverse decision at the hearing stage, you can file an appeal with the Board of Review. Under state law, you will have 30 days from the date you received a decision regarding your hearing to file an application with the Board.
You can file an appeal in district court: Finally, you have the ability to file an appeal in district court. This is relatively uncommon in unemployment compensation cases; however, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your claim, it may prove to be necessary.
Employers Have Financial Incentives to Fight Claims
Many employees wonder why their former employer is involved in their claim at all. After all, if you have already lost your job, why is your former boss trying to deny you your much-needed unemployment benefits? The reason is relatively simple: Massachusetts employers may be required to pay more in insurance taxes if their former workers obtain unemployment benefits.
Unfortunately, in some cases, this system leads some unscrupulous employers to behave badly, trying to protect the finances of the company to the detriment of former employees. Indeed, potentially, your initial unemployment benefits claim may be approved and it may be your employer that requests a hearing to try to appeal the decision. Regardless of how your case gets to a hearing, your ex-employer is likely to be represented by a legal professional during that part of the process. As such, it is critically important that you have an experienced Springfield employee rights lawyer by your side as well.
The Most Frequently Disputed Issue: Reasons for Separation
On the surface, Massachusetts unemployment compensation claims are relatively straightforward. If a worker was let go through no fault of their own and they are currently looking for a new job, then they are entitled to unemployment benefits. However, in reality, these cases can become incredibly complex. Major disputes can arise over the “reasons for separation.”
Under Massachusetts law, the first issue that needs to be addresses is whether you quit or were fired. If you were fired, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits unless you were fired for willful misconduct. On the other hand, if you quit, you can still obtain benefits if you quit for sufficient cause attributable to your employer. For example, if a person is sexually harassed at work, complains through the proper channels, but the harassment continues, he or she will likely be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Contact Our Springfield Unemployment Claims Law Firm for Help Today
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, our attorneys are dedicated to protecting employee rights. If you were denied unemployment benefits or if your former employer is appealing a decision to grant you your benefits, we can help. You can have an experienced Springfield employment attorney review your case by filling out our online questionnaire or by calling our office today at 413-417-7035.