Fight Back at Step One

Please be aware that the initial unemployment Appeals Hearing is by far the most important level in the process of trying to obtain or keep benefits.  If you do not have legal representation at the initial hearing, it is very difficult to prevail at the subsequent steps of appeal (Office of Administrative Review and Chancery Court) because the record set at the first hearing is usually the entire record through the process.  Occasionally people tell our office that they will attend the first hearing alone to save the cost of attorneys’ fees and then obtain an attorney if they lose at that level.  It is usually too late to correct any deficiency in the record at a higher level.  We urge people to seek legal representation at the first level, whether they choose Young Law Office, P.C. or another firm. 


The Specific Facts of Your Situation May Entitle You to Benefits

Many employers will tell an employee, “Don’t bother to apply for unemployment benefits.  We will fight you all the way.”  This can intimidate a person into walking away from money they are entitled, by law, to receive.  For example, you may be eligible if:


  • You were told that you were fired because you could not do the job to the satisfaction of your boss.  There is no misconduct involved in simply not being able to do the job if you are putting forth your very best effort.  
  • You were off work for a medical reason and returned to your employer with a full release by a doctor, in writing, and the company refused to put you back to work.  You are ready, willing and able to work but there is no work available. 
  • You were fired for breaking an unwritten rule but had never been made aware of the rule or warned of the consequences of your actions. You were never given a fair warning that your conduct could result in job loss.   


The Company Will Have A Lawyer; You Should, Too

Do not allow your former employer to be the only one at the hearing with an attorney.  You need to have an advocate there for you, someone to present your side of the story in a compelling and organized way. Your attorney can help you prepare your evidence and articulate an effective explanation of what happened in the workplace. 
Employers have been much more aggressive about trying to stop former employees from receiving unemployment benefits.  The insurance rate for the employer rises for each employee who successfully files against the company account for unemployment benefits. One national corporation estimates that employers spend $560 per employee on unemployment benefit insurance. 
There are large corporations who focus on representing employers to prevent former employees from receiving unemployment benefits. Those companies are paid to stand between you and your unemployment benefits. 


Levels of Appeal

In Tennessee there are three levels of appeal in the unemployment process:
Level One: The Appeals Tribunal for an initial Hearing.

  • We charge a flat fee for this level of legal representation. 

Level Two: The Commissioner’s Designee to review the findings of the Appeals Tribunal.  

  • We charge a flat fee for this level of legal representation.  

Level Three: Chancery Court for court hearing on whether the Appeals Tribunal and Commissioner’s Designee made the correct decisions.

  • We charge an hourly fee for this level of legal representation.


Examples of Past Cases

Boltik v. Emory Valley Center (2015) Docket # 15-12569AA, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 11/18/15.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits because the evidence did not show a willful or wanton violation of a duty by Claimant.  


Tipton v. Holston Gases, Inc. (2015) Docket # 15B1971AA, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Decision of Commissioner’s Designee, 10/14/15.  Commissioner’s Designee adopted the finding of the Appeals Tribunal.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits because the evidence did not establish misconduct by Claimant.  


Caudle v. Bertelkamp Automation (2015) Docket # 15-11021AA, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 10/8/15.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits because the evidence did not show a willful or wanton violation of a duty by Claimant.  


Tipton v. Holston Gases, Inc. (2015) Docket # 15-09969AA, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 9/17/15.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits because the evidence did not establish misconduct by Claimant.  


Shetterly v. Volunteer Express, Inc.  (2014)  Docket # 13-20517AA, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal 01/10/2014.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits because the evidence was not sufficient to establish misconduct as defined by the statute.   The employer did not meet its burden of proof in this case, relying primarily on hearsay.    


Thomas v. National Health Corporation (2014) Docket # 14-15816AA, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 12/12/14.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits because the evidence did not establish misconduct by Claimant.  


Price v. People’s Home Equity, Inc. (2014) Docket # 14-11605AA, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 09/04/14.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits because the evidence did not establish misconduct by Claimant.  


Middleton v. Bargain Barn, Inc. (2013) Docket # 13B0234AA, Decision of Commissioner’s Designee, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, 02/15/2013.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits and the decision was modified to reflect that the Claimant had good cause for voluntarily ending his employment. 


Atchley v. Metro Knoxville HMA, LLC (2012), Docket No. 12-19389AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 11/08/12.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment compensation benefits because Employer failed to establish that Claimant was not in compliance with the work plan or that she was in violation of any company policy at the time of separation.  


Clark v. Strata Environmental SVCS, Inc. (2012)Docket No. 12-12237AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 6/22/12.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment compensation benefits because Employer failed to present sufficient or credible evidence to prove their case.  


Zigler v. West Knox Utility District (2012) Docket No. 12-08114AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 6/01/12.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment compensation benefits because Employer failed to establish that Claimant was in violation of any company policy at the time of separation.  


Crocker v. Samico, Inc. (2012) Docket No. 12-B1430AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 5/16/12.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment compensation benefits because Claimant’s actions did not rise to the level of work-connected misconduct as defined by statute.  


Traore v. America’s Collectibles Network, Inc. (2012) Docket No. 12-01913AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 2/13/12.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment compensation benefits because Employer failed to present any proof of intentional misconduct.


Middleton v. Bargain Barn, Inc. (2012) Docket # 12-21225AA, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal 12/28/2012.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits because the evidence was not sufficient to establish misconduct as defined by the statute.  


Sims v. Sears Roebuck & Co. (2011) Docket No. 11-23354AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 10/20/11.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment compensation benefits because Employer did not meet its burden of proof to show misconduct by claimant.


LeVan v. Sears Roebuck & Co. (2011) Docket No. 11-21399AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 10/12/11.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment compensation benefits because Employer did not meet its burden of proof to show misconduct by claimant and did not show that Claimant deliberately affected the employer’s business interests. 


Anderson v. Kindred Nursing Centers LTD  (2011) Docket No. 11B0904AA Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Commissioner’s Designee, Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits.  The Claimant was absent for a legitimate medical reason covered by a medical provider’s note. 


Byers v. Semperian, LLC (2010) Docket No. 10-16266AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 08/30/10.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment compensation benefits because Claimant left her job due to a non-work related medical reason and notified Employer of her release.  Claimant requested to return to work but was not allowed to return.  Claimant satisfied the requirements of the law; therefore, she was found eligible for benefits.   


Carr v. Covenant Health Systems (2010) Docket No. 10-09964AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits.  The evidence was not sufficient to establish misconduct and more weight had to be given to the Claimant’s first hand testimony than to hearsay from the employer. 


Wilson v. Helen Ross McNabb Center (2010) Docket No. 10-06728AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal.  Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits.  The employer failed to prove the final incident resulting in the discharge.


Dale v. Knox County Schools (2010) Docket No. 10-11363AH, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal.  Claimant was not at fault in establishing an overpayment.  It was determined that it would be against equity and good conscience to require the claimant to reimburse the Agency for the overpayment. 


Newman v. Nease Convenience Stores, Inc. (2009)Docket No. 09B2264AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Board of Review, 12/17/09. The Employer failed to carry his burden of proof required to support a finding of misconduct within the meaning of T.C.A. § 50-7-303(a)(2). The claimant was found to be entitled to unemployment compensation benefits. 


Robinson v. CR Barger and Sons, Inc. (2009)Docket No. 09-11698AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 12/08/09. Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits. The Employer failed to present evidence to establish misconduct as defined by the statute. The Claimant further met her burden of providing her eligibility to receive benefits as she was attending college at the time she was discharged and was available to work just as she had been when employed by Employer. 


West v. Hurd Real Estate Association (2009)Docket No. 09-17415AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 12/10/09. Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits. The Employer failed to present evidence to establish misconduct as defined by the statute.


Lewis v. ABC Holdings, Inc. (2009)Docket No. 09-23425AA, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, Appeals Tribunal, 12/16/09. Claimant was found eligible for unemployment benefits. The Employer did not meet its burden of proof in this case. 


Take Action
Call our office today at (865) 474-1284 to discuss your East Tennessee unemployment situation. 



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(865) 474-1284 

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Young Law Office, P.C.

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Please Contact Young Law Office, P.C.

Don’t Take “No” For An Answer

You are potentially eligible for up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.  While unemployment benefits are relatively modest payments, they can be a lifeline for a worker in need.  You are entitled to a hearing to explain your side of the story and to have your former employer explain why they believe you are not eligible for benefits. ​​​


​Appeal Hearings for Unemployment Benefit Denials
If you have applied for unemployment benefits and have received a denial letter, you can appeal that decision by requesting a hearing before an Administrative Hearing Officer for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.