The appeal hearing may be your last opportunity to present your case, so be thoroughly prepared. Take any evidence with you, or have it in hand during your hearing.
Unemployment Compensation appeal hearings are called "de novo", which is latin for "from the beginning". This means your hearing will be impartial and independent of the initial decision that granted or denied your benefits. The Referee who conducts the hearing is not bound by the initial decision and will base his/her decision only on the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing. This is a VERY important point.
If documents, letters, statements or any other types of evidence were previously presented at to the unemployment office, and could be helpful to your case, YOU are responsible for making sure they are presented again at your appeal hearing. Decide who your witnesses will be, if any, and make sure they will attend your hearing. Before the hearing, you and your attorney, or authorized representative have the right to review the case file.
Evidence for Consideration
Only evidence which has been presented at the hearing will be considered, therefore you should bring with you any documents or witnesses that can directly help your case. Carefully think through your case. Ask yourself what information, documents or witnesses will help to establish the facts in your favor.
Choose a witness who has first-hand information. A person with first-hand information is someone who actually saw or heard the event to which he/she is testifying. His/her testimony is direct and comes from a personal knowledge of the facts. Anyone who testifies about what someone else said, saw, or heard is offering hearsay and has limited knowledge of that event. Some hearsay is admissible as evidence. However, it is generally not as reliable as testimony from someone who has first-hand knowledge because he/she did not directly witness the events in question. Testimony given at the hearing, under oath and subject to cross-examination, is considered to be the highest and most reliable form of testimony.
Think carefully about who might have the most personal knowledge about your case. Do not bring a colleague or friend simply because he/she believes you are telling the truth. Rather, bring a witness to the key events, someone who can directly help you support your case.
You have the right to have an attorney to represent you at your hearing. As always, the Referee will make sure all parties are given an opportunity to present their case. It is the Referee's job to make sure each party receives a fair and unbiased hearing, whether or not he/she chooses to have representation. If you believe your case is complicated, or are uncomfortable presenting it yourself, then you have the right to have a lawyer present. Your attorney will be given an opportunity to question the witness. If you choose to have legal representation, contact your attorney immediately so as to allow ample time to prepare for the hearing. It is your responsibility to notify your attorney of the time and place of the hearing and to discuss any fees associated with that representation.
If you need special services, such as accommodations for persons with disabilities or an interpreter to present your facts at the hearing, contact the Board of Review in advance so that the necessary arrangements can be made in time for your hearing, (401) 462-9400. Interpreting services are available at no cost to you.
Board of Review, 41 West Road, Hazard Building #74, 1st Floor, Cranston, RI 02920 | Phone: (401) 462-9400 | Fax: (401) 462-9401 | Email: DLT.BORinfo@dlt.ri.gov
Equal opportunity employer/program - auxiliary aids and services available upon request. TTY via RI Relay: 711 10/19/17 MDF