How to Appeal an Unemployment Denial in Nevada

If your claim for unemployment has been denied, you have the right to file an appeal.

By , J.D. · UC Berkeley School of Law

Did the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) deny your claim for unemployment benefits? If so, don't give up yet. Like every other state, Nevada gives you the right to appeal a denial of benefits. If your appeal is successful, you can collect all of the benefits you would have received had your application not been denied.

Below, we explain how to appeal a denial of unemployment in Nevada. We cover common reasons why claims are denied, procedures and deadlines for filing an appeal, and what to expect at the appeal hearing. (If you're interested in general information on unemployment insurance, see Collecting Unemployment Benefits.)

For What Reasons Can You Be Denied Unemployment?

If your claim is denied, you will receive a written determination letter from the Nevada DETR. The determination will tell you why your claim was denied. Here are some common reasons why claimants are denied unemployment benefits:

Failing to Meet the Earnings Requirements

Like most states, Nevada requires you to have earned at least a minimum amount in a 12-month stretch called the "base period" to be eligible for unemployment. (To find out the current earnings requirements, see Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Nevada.)

Quitting Your Last Job

You must be out of work through no fault of your own to qualify for unemployment benefits in Nevada. If you quit your job voluntarily, without good cause, you will not qualify for benefits. But if you had a compelling reason to quit your job, you may still be eligible. For example, if you quit because your employer would not correct dangerous working conditions or because of your own health problems, you might still qualify for unemployment.

Getting Fired for Misconduct

You won't be eligible for benefits if you were fired for misconduct. If you were fired because you were simply not a good fit or lacked the skills necessary to do your job, you will still be eligible for benefits.

In Nevada, however, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits for a period of time if you were fired for criminal activity, deliberately disregarding your employer's rules, or carelessness to an extent that demonstrates substantial disregard for your employer's interests.

Refusing Suitable Work

You may collect benefits in Nevada only if you are looking for a new job. If you turn down suitable work, you will be disqualified.

If, after reading these requirements, you think that the Nevada DETR should have granted your claim, it makes sense to file an appeal. For example, if your claim was denied as a voluntary quit, but you were actually forced to resign when your company downsized, your appeal may well succeed. If you simply didn't earn enough to meet the earnings requirements, however, there's no point in challenging the denial.

How to Appeal an Unemployment Denial in Nevada

If your claim for benefits is denied, you can file an appeal with the Appeals Office of the Nevada DETR. The determination letter denying your claim will explain how and where to file an appeal. You have 11 days from the date the determination was mailed to you to file your appeal.

In your appeal, state that you are appealing the decision and explain why you believe you are entitled to benefits. For example, if the decision letter states that you were denied benefits because you quit voluntarily, you might say: "Although my employer reported that I quit, I was told I had to resign or be laid off the next day."

Once you file your appeal, keep filing weekly claims for unemployment benefits, looking for work, and keeping records of your job search, just as if your claim had been granted. If you win your appeal, you will be entitled to benefits retroactively from the date when your claim was denied—but only if you have been filing benefit claims and searching for a new job each week.

The Unemployment Appeal Hearing

Once you file an appeal, you will receive a written hearing notice explaining when the hearing will take place. The hearing may be held in person or by telephone. A referee will conduct the hearing and make a decision on your appeal.

The referee may ask questions of you, your employer, and any witnesses who testify at the hearing. The referee will also review documents and any other evidence at the hearing. Your employer can also participate in the hearing and may be represented by an attorney. You can hire your own attorney, if you wish.

This hearing is your chance to tell your side of the story, so be prepared to present all of your documents and witnesses. If there is a dispute over how much you earned, for example, provide copies of all of your pay stubs. The hearing notice will explain how to present your documents to the referee.

Be ready for your hearing on time, with your documents and any witnesses you want to present. Answer the referee's questions carefully and completely. You may question your employer's witnesses, and your employer (or its representative) has the right to question you and your witnesses. Once all the evidence has been heard, you'll have a chance to make a closing argument. Make sure you state all of the reasons why you believe you are entitled to benefits, referring to the evidence or testimony that supports your arguments.

The Appeal Decision

The referee will not decide your appeal at the hearing, but will instead send you and your employer a written decision in the mail. If you win your appeal, you should begin receiving benefits soon.

If you lose your appeal, you have 11 days from the date the decision was mailed to file a higher appeal with the Board of Review. If you lose this appeal, you can file a petition for appeal with the Nevada district court. You have 22 days to file this judicial appeal.

Next Steps After Appealing An Unemployment Denial

If you are considering an appeal, check out the Unemployment Insurance Appeals pamphlet on the Nevada DETR website..

You may also want to hire an attorney to represent you. Your employer may have an attorney at the hearing. If so, having your own lawyer will help even the odds. An attorney can question witnesses, help you decide what evidence would best prove your case, and present legal arguments about why your claim should have been granted.

However, you'll have to consider whether the cost of hiring an attorney is worth what you would receive if you win. An attorney should be willing to meet with you for a quick consultation to review your case, explain your chances of winning the appeal, and talk about fees. If you have a strong case and the fees are reasonable, it might make sense to hire a lawyer to represent you.

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