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Contact Mark Risk

Address: 932 Rose Ct. Traverse City, MI 49686

Telephone: (231) 941-0054

Fax: (231) 941-4991

Email: markrisk@gmail.com

Proudly representing clients in Northwest Michigan including:

Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, Benzie, Manistee, Kalkaska, Emmet, Wexford, and other counties throughout Michigan

If you're having trouble with Unemployment Compensation and you need legal advice you have come to the right place.

 I have 31 years experience and served 12 years as an Administrative Law Judge for the Unemployment Department 


Entries in Unemployment Lawyer (2)

Thursday
Mar032011

Quit or Fired - How the law views a separation

Photo: Kay HendryI frequently hear that an employee was given the opportunity to quit rather than be fired.  Most people do not know what the law is on the issue and are unsure of what to do.  The following are some reasons why quitting may prove to be the better option. 

First, it looks better on your resume if you quit rather than being fired.  Second, the Unemployment Agency knows this situation comes up quite often.  They don’t look at what the parties called the “separation”. They look at whether or not the claimant “voluntarily” quit.  They also look at who initiated the separation from employment.

When the employer gives you the choice to quit or be fired, this is not “voluntary”.  The Courts have called this a “Hobson’s Choice”.  A “Hobson’s Choice” means no real choice at all.  The term has various origins.  I heard that it came from a character in a Charles Dickens novel named Mr. Hobson.  In any event the Unemployment Agency considers this a firing and not a quit.

A word of caution; make sure that there is something in writing that the employer gave you this choice.  You do not want the employer to later claim there was no discussion of firing.  I’ve even had cases where a year later an employer claimed an employee quit rather than was laid off.  So, be prepared and keep any employment documents on file to be safe.

Monday
Feb212011

The Claim Through The Hearing - Each Step Counts

After you file a claim it is important to remember to keep calling Marvin.  Marvin is the name for the computer system by which you report your information to the Unemployment Agency Marvin Stands for Michigan’s Automated Response Voice Interactive Network.  You could eventually win your claim but not receive any benefits because you have failed to report to Marvin.

There are a number of legal steps that may need to be taken in order for you to prevail on your claim and receive benefits.  First you file a claim.  You provide a statement to the Agency as to what happened that caused the job separation.  The Employer will be asked by the Agency to provide their statement of what they perceive happened.

Next the Agency looks at the two statements.  They issue a “Determination” or decision as to who wins and why.  Either party can appeal this decision. If you win, you don’t need to do a thing. As long as the employer does not appeal you will receive benefits usually within weeks.  However, if the employer appeals you may be contacted to give an additional statement. If you lose you need to appeal.  This can be very simple.  You can just say (in writing) that you want to appeal.

What you say at this point is important.  The chances that you are going to get the decision reversed are slim.  And, anything you say to the agency will be available to the Employer.  It might be a good strategy to hold back some information so the employer will not be able to prepare for it at the hearing.  This is something you need to talk to an attorney about.

The Agency will issue a Re-determination.  Again, either side has a right to appeal.  If the Re-determination says you win you need to do nothing.  If you lose you need to appeal.  Again, be aware what you put in your appeal.  Other than the fact that you filed something, the content of your appeal will not even be considered.  So you are just giving your employer a free look at your strategy

The next step in the process is a Hearing in front of an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) or Hearing Officer.  This is actually a trial.  Witnesses will be called and sworn.  The entire hearing will be recorded.  The hearings are scheduled for one hour.  So you need to be well prepared.  Also, although either side can appeal there will not be anymore hearings nor can anyone add any evidence except in extraordinary circumstances.  So this is your one chance and you need to make it count. The appeal goes to the MECS Board of Review, a three person panel.  They review the transcript of the Hearing and make a decision.

If you have any questions about this process please fell free to call me at (231) 941-0054