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Unemployment Hearings & Appeals

Massachusetts requires most employers to carry unemployment insurance that covers the cost of unemployment benefits for eligible workers who claim unemployment insurance benefits through the Division of Unemployment Assistance or "DUA". The DUA and the Department of Workforce Development also offer programs to assist unemployed workers return to work.

Generally, an unemployed worker who is otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits may collect unemployment benefits if he (1) left work voluntarily with good cause attributable to the employer, (2) left work involuntarily for urgent, compelling and necessitous reasons, or (3) was discharged due to his incompetence. An unemployed worker may not collect unemployment benefits if he was (1) discharged for deliberate misconduct in willful disregard of the employer's interests, or (2) discharged for a knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced policy or rule.

It is in the best interests of employers to oppose claims for unemployment insurance benefits when there is a good faith basis for doing so because of the cost of unemployment insurance. Employers will typically pay surcharges or increased premiums when former employees successfully claim entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits. There are some instances in which the former employee may collect unemployment insurance benefits without the former employer paying an increased premium, but most cases will result in either the denial of benefits or an increase in premiums.

Regardless of which side of the claim you are on, it is wise to consult with an attorney experienced with the unemployment insurance benefits claims process to ensure that your case is in harmony with the applicable law and policy, and that you present your position in the most effective manner. Increases in unemployment insurance premiums can be quite costly for businesses, especially as they accumulate over time, and the loss of anticipated unemployment insurance benefits can lead to hardship for unemployed workers.

If you or your business require affordable legal advice or representation at a DUA unemployment hearing or appeal, call Toomey Legal.