How to Appeal an Unemployment Denial in Alabama

Learn the process for challenging an unemployment denial in Alabama.

If your unemployment claim has been denied in Alabama, you have the right to appeal. This article explains some common reasons claims are denied, how to file an appeal, and what the appeals process is like. (For more information on unemployment benefits in general, see our Collecting Unemployment Benefits page.)

Possible Reasons for Denial

The first step in appealing a denial is figuring out why your claim was denied. A claim can be denied for many reasons, but here are some of the most common reasons:

  • You quit your job without good cause. If you voluntarily quit your job, without good cause, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Good cause means that you had a compelling, work-related reason for leaving your job. For example, you may have good cause if you quit your job due to an unsafe work environment. Personal reasons, such as moving to another town or a lack of transportation, do not constitute good cause.
  • You were fired from your job for misconduct. Employees who are discharged because of work-related misconduct are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Examples of misconduct include failing to obey your employer’s work rules, being repeatedly late or absent, and endangering the safety of others.
  • You haven’t met the state’s minimum earnings requirements. In Alabama, you must have worked at least two quarters during a 12-month period called the “base period” in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. You must also have earned a minimum amount in wages during the two highest quarters of the base period. (To find out the earning requirements, see Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Alabama.)
  • You are unable to work or you have refused suitable work. Unemployment compensation is provided only to workers who are able and available to work. If you are unable to work due to an injury or illness, you will not eligible for unemployment benefits. (However, if your injury or illness is work-related, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.) Likewise, if you refuse to accept a suitable job or fail to make reasonable efforts to find a job, you will be denied benefits.

How to File an Appeal

After an initial denial of your claim, you can file a written appeal to the Hearing and Appeals Division of the Alabama Department of Labor. The appeal request must be received within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the original decision (or seven days if the notice was handed to you in person). The appeal request can be in letter format, but it must include the following:

  • your full name and the last four digits of your social security number
  • the reason you disagree with the initial decision and why you are eligible for benefits, and
  • your signature.

During the appeals process, you will still need to file weekly certifications with the Department. The weekly certifications, which can be completed online, will ask you a series of questions to confirm that you’re still unemployed and actively looking for work. You will be eligible to receive benefits only for the weeks in which you filed a certification.

Appeal Hearing

After you file an appeal, you should receive a Notice of Unemployment Compensation Telephone Hearing. The notice will give you all of the details you need in order to participate in the hearing, including the date and time of the hearing, the issues that will be discussed, and how to present evidence. Because the hearing will be over the phone, you will need to mail or fax any documents you want to present well before the hearing.

You may bring witnesses to the hearing who have actual knowledge of the facts in your case. For example, this might include coworkers who can confirm your version of the events surrounding your termination. If you’re having trouble getting documents or witnesses for your hearing, you can contact the Hearings and Appeals Division for help.

During the hearing, the hearing officer will ask you and your employer questions and review the evidence. Both you and your employer will be able to submit documents, present witnesses, and make arguments in support of your case. The hearing officer will mail you a written decision after the hearing.

Board of Appeals

If you disagree with the hearing officer’s decision, you can file an appeal with the Board of Appeals, a three-member panel appointed by the governor. The appeal must be received within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the hearing officer’s decision and must include your reasons for the appeal. The Board of Appeals can either grant or deny your application for an appeal. If your application is denied, you will be notified by mail. If it is granted, the Board may make a decision based on the evidence from your initial hearing, or it may schedule another hearing. The Board of Appeals hearings are conducted in person.

Further Appeals

If you’re not happy with the decision of the Board of Appeals, you can appeal to the circuit court in the county in which you last worked or lived. This appeal must be filed within 30 days of the decision of the Board of Appeals. If you’re not satisfied with the decision of the circuit court, you can appeal to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

Getting Help

You may want to consider hiring an attorney to help you appeal your unemployment denial. However, depending on how much you stand to collect in benefits, it may not always be worth the cost. If you are unsure, you can meet with an attorney to discuss fees and how much you might receive in benefits.

If you need more information on appealing your unemployment claim, you can find helpful information at the Alabama Department of Labor’s.

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