COVID-19: If you are laid off or terminated due to the Coronavirus outbreak, you are eligible to file for unemployment benefits.
Being informed that you no longer have a job, or that your hours have been cut back to the point that you can no longer make a living, is devastating. However, the situation can become significantly worse if you are wrongfully denied benefits from unemployment insurance.
Under Connecticut law, a person who is denied unemployment benefits may appeal. An attorney may represent him or her in this appeal. It is also important that you be represented if your employer appeals a decision to grant you benefits.
Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Lawyer
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, we represent workers who are denied unemployment claims based on misinformation – often from their former employer – or a misinterpretation of Connecticut law. If you are terminated, the reasons you may be denied are very narrow. If you are forced to resign or retire due to certain conditions beyond your control, you may also have a right to receive unemployment compensation.
We also represent workers whose employers are attempting to appeal a decision favorable to the worker. The employer is likely to have counsel — make sure you do, too.
Fill out our online form so we can review the details of your case. We represent people denied benefits across Connecticut, including Waterbury, Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, Milford, Bridgeport, Danbury, Fairfield, and Greenwich.
- If you were discharged, was the reason other than because of deliberate misconduct or the violation of a uniformly enforced, publicized workplace rule?
- If you quit, was it due to a reason beyond your control, like a health problem, a loved one’s health problem or loss of your vehicle?
- Were you forced to quit due to your employer’s violation of a law, e.g., sexual harassment or discrimination?
- Were you given the option of quitting or being fired?
- If you retired, was it voluntary?
If you answered “Yes,” you should consider appealing the decision.
Overview of Unemployment Compensation
- Basics of Unemployment Insurance
- Process for Filing
- Reasons for Separation in Unemployment Claims
Basics of Unemployment Insurance
Unemployment insurance is a program administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor. Employers pay taxes that go into the fund. The benefits are intended for workers who, through no fault of their own, lose their jobs to help them make ends meet while looking for new work.
To be eligible for benefits, a worker must:
- Be fully unemployed or partially unemployed;
- Be unemployed due to a reason that is no fault of his or her own;
- Be physically and mentally capable and available to work full-time;
- Register with an American Jobs Center;
- Actively seek work;
- Participate in certain reemployment services, if identified by the DOL’s system as needing them; and
- File weekly claims.
Process for Filing
If you have been separated from work, you should immediately file a claim with the Connecticut Department of Labor. You can do this via telephone or online. You do not need an attorney.
An adjudicator will contact you and conduct a telephone hearing, in most cases. The adjudicator will discuss your reasons for separation. It is very important to be truthful. The adjudicator will also speak to your former employer, and make a decision whether you qualify.
Both the former employee and the employer can appeal any decision the adjudicator makes. At the appeal, whether you are appealing a negative decision or your former employer is appealing a decision positive for you, you may well want an attorney.
Employers must pay more in unemployment insurance taxes if former employees are approved for unemployment benefits, so they have an incentive to fight claims.
Reasons for Separation in Unemployment Claims
The most common reason debated during an appeal is the reason the person seeking benefits was separated from his or her job. If you were discharged (fired or laid off against your will), you qualify for benefits unless you were terminated for:
- Deliberate misconduct
- A knowing violation of a policy that is uniformly enforced and is reasonable
- Stealing company property worth $25 or more
- Stealing money from the company
- Committing a felony
- Absent without good cause or notice that could have reasonably been provided three separate times over a one year period
For instance, Jane is the controller for a large nonprofit in Stamford. She has worked there for seven years and has an excellent employment record. The leadership at the nonprofit bring in a new CFO, Elizabeth. Jane and Elizabeth have differing opinions on company policy and clash for several weeks before Elizabeth informs Jane that she is being terminated.
Jane applies for unemployment benefits. After a telephone hearing, she is informed that she is being denied benefits because she was terminated for “deliberate misconduct.” Jane should appeal this decision.
If you quit, you may still collect benefits if you can show that you left because:
- You had to take care of a child, spouse or parent with an illness or disability
- You are moving to accompany a spouse due to a change in his or her employment, and it was impractical for you to continue working at your job
- Your employer violated a law
- Your pay and/or hours were cut significantly
- You lost transportation other than a vehicle you own
If you retire, you may qualify for benefits if you did not retire voluntarily. This includes instances in which the employee can no longer perform a job due to the risk to his or her health and safety, and when an employer induces retirement to close a facility or eliminate a position.
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, we have secured benefits for:
- An auto service employee whose employer claimed he took a loaner car without permission
- An investment firm sales associate whose employer claimed she quit her job
- The chief operating officer of a nonprofit whose CEO claimed she had violated company policy
- A grocery store employee accused of willful misconduct
Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore | Attorney for Connecticut Unemployment Claims
If you have been denied unemployment benefits or if an employer is appealing a decision to grant you benefit, be represented by a skilled Connecticut labor lawyer at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore.
Fill out our online form today so we can review the details of your claim.