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When a person files for unemployment benefits, he must file an application with the state agency that administers benefits. Before he can receive benefits, the agency will check with his former employer to determine whether he is eligible for benefits. If the employer lies and states that the employee left his job under different circumstances than was the case, the person denied benefits will have an option to appeal.
When a former employee files for benefits, he is required to present a reason that she left her previous job. Generally, the only people eligible for unemployment benefits are people who left their job involuntarily, through no fault of their own, such as by being terminated. If the employer contradicts the employee's account of his departure, stating that he quit voluntarily, for example, the person may be denied benefits.
When a person is denied benefits due to statements made by her employer, she will generally be provided an opportunity to appeal the decision by the state agency. The exact means by which she can appeal will vary by state. In some cases, she will need to appear in person and present evidence. In preparation for such a hearing, she should collect as much evidence of the circumstances of her departure as possible.
If a former employee is unable to appeal the state agency's decision or the state agency rules against him, he should consult an attorney with experience in employment law. The attorney will be able to provide him with his legal options -- both for receiving benefits and, in some cases, for suing his former employer for lying. The employer may be responsible for paying the person's legal fees for lying to the employment agency.
Unemployment laws are made at the state level. This means that a person wishing to appeal a verdict by a state agency based on false statements from his former employer will have to follow difference procedures and have different rights based on the laws of his state. If he cannot afford an attorney, he should attempt to receive as full an understanding of the appeals process as he can from the state agency.
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- "Employment Law"; Benjamin W. Wolkinson, et al.; 1996
- New York Bar: Employment Law Handbook for Non-Lawyers; August 2006