Tag Archives: Unemployment Attorney- Wisconsin

Don’t Play the Blame Game in Unemployment Proceedings

Workers involved in Wisconsin unemployment proceedings are often tempted to play the “blame game.”

Human instinct may tell you that it’s important to tell the unemployment interviewer or judge your opinions about what the employer did wrong.  For example, say a worker was fired because the employer said the worker was “falsifying formwork,” and the employer is challenging unemployment, claiming the worker was fired for misconduct.

If the worker is playing the “blame game,” the worker may tell the unemployment representative these types of opinions/blame-statements:

  • The employer was at fault for not training the worker how to properly complete the formwork
  • The employer was at fault for not investigating the situation properly before flying off the handle and firing the worker
  • The employer was at fault for not firing other people who did the same thing (or worse) with formwork
  • The employer/manager/etc. do much worse things themselves — they set the building on fire, etc.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but I hope you see the point.  Playing the blame game looks bad.

While there are times in an unemployment proceeding that a worker may be asked for FACTUAL information about what the employer did wrong– e.g. an administrative judge could ask a question like  “Did the employer train you how to complete that type of formwork?”, to which a worker could respond  “No,” if that’s the truth– this is a very different scenario than the worker being given an open-floor to rattle off instances where the employer dropped the ball.

It’s understandable that, if you’ve been fired or had your unemployment challenged for reasons that seem unfair, you FEEL the employer is to blame. But if you SPEAK to an unemployment representative from that mindset, i.e. if you’re playing the blame game, that is usually a losing game for workers in unemployment proceedings.

Please note this post does not provide legal advice- if you want legal advice, you must talk to an attorney about your specific situation. If you are interested in legal assistance from attorney-author Michael Brown or his law firm DVG Law Partner for your Wisconsin unemployment matter, please contact us here:

WI Unemployment - No Fees Unless You Win

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Appealing WI Unemployment Initial Determination– Be Careful When Stating “Reason” in Your Appeal Form/Letter

If you are a Wisconsin worker who lost your initial determination for unemployment benefits, the next step is to submit a timely appeal.  An appeal can be submitted online here, or via a letter.  When submitting the appeal, you should be very careful to follow the instructions closely, and to submit the appeal before the deadline.  The initial determination form you received will state the deadline, and the instructions for filing an appeal via internet or letter.

One mistake I see many WI workers make, is that they will state the reasons for their appeal in too much detail, and often volunteer details that are unnecessary or even harmful for their case.

For example, I have seen some workers’ appeal letters (or internet form boxed like that above) state something like this for reasons for an appeal : “Appeal Reason: My employer lied, and targeted me for a discriminatory termination… [followed by paragraphs or pages of explanation about why the employee is in the right, the employer is in the wrong, etc.]…

Usually, statements like this are irrelevant and a bad idea.

Please consider the article information below before you write down reasons for your appeal…

Please note this post does not provide legal advice- if you want legal advice, you must talk to an attorney about your specific situation. If you are interested in legal assistance from attorney-author Michael Brown or his law firm DVG Law Partner for your Wisconsin unemployment matter, please contact us here:

WI Unemployment - No Fees Unless You Win

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Unemployment Advice– Good Times to Seek It (and Not Be Too Late)

If you are a Wisconsin worker seeking unemployment benefits, you may be considering the idea of getting an attorney versus not getting an attorney.

I am not writing this point to convince you to get an attorney like me– despite my self-interest in having people retain me, I understand that’s a decision for only you  to make.

However, I will say that the timing of when you make that decision (if you’re going to make it) is important.

Sometimes, workers will call me and tell me they are interested in retaining me, but they are at such an advanced point in unemployment proceedings and/or have had preventable problems occur that I tell them I can no longer give them my most beneficial advice and I should not be retained.

If you are considering whether or not to retain an unemployment attorney, please consider these points in time when it can be particularly helpful to get advice from an attorney:

  • Before you apply for benefits.

Most workers can apply for WI unemployment benefits and get the ball rolling without assistance from an attorney.

The State’s unemployment division has good, straight-forward website information here about filing an unemployment application.

However, on occasion a worker has discomfort or has issues (e.g. unusual circumstances and unemployment eligibility issue) that an attorney could be of assistance with.

  • Before you fill out written documentation that describes your job termination (e.g. a letter or discharge questionnaire where you describe your view of the facts about termination) and submit it to the unemployment office.

Employees often make mistakes on written formwork– e.g. write about irrelevant issues, cast blame or judgments about the employer– that contribute to a denial of benefits and make me cringe as an attorney when I read it later.

An attorney could often help with such formwork, although a worker’s errors in completing the forms are usually not fatal, and there are certainly later points the worker could win unemployment benefits and an attorney could be effective.

  • Before you have a phone interview with an unemployment representative.

The phone interview is common occasion where an employee often makes mistakes, and can benefit from legal advice.  With that said,  many workers do not seek out legal advice at this pre-interview stage, although some will read articles on the State’s unemployment website or on this blog.

Here are some articles I’ve written that are pertinent to preparing for a phone interview: Three Rules for an Unemployment Interview or Hearing , Unemployment: The Legal Decision-Maker Isn’t Your Friend (Or Enemy), and Employee Tip: Filing for Unemployment in WI; Preparing for Appeal and Hearing.

Also, there is a blog page here that lists links to all my unemployment-related blog articles.

These articles talk about factors to consider before a phone interview, but they do not provide legal advice (for which you’d need to talk to an attorney about your specific circumstances).  If you spoke to an attorney before your unemployment phone interview about your specific circumstances, an attorney could provide legal advice about which facts and issues are most important, and advice about how you should prepare for your particular phone interview.

  • Before your unemployment hearing.

If you are going to talk to an unemployment attorney, then the time to do it is definitely before you have a hearing.

Once an unemployment hearing has occurred, that event has locked into place the case’s  “record”– the recording of all the testimony and documents/exhibits for the matter.  Once this record is established at the hearing, the parties are stuck with it.  If a party loses and appeals, they must base the appeal on the record, and cannot introduce new evidence.

An attorney can be far more effective in helping a worker before the hearing, and before the record is created.  The attorney can help prepare for the hearing, and its anticipated witnesses, testimony and exhibits. An attorney can help a worker be sure that the hearing, and the record, contains the facts and evidence that are supportive of you.

It is common for me to get a call from a worker who has lost their hearing, did not like that result, and decides at that point an attorney could be of help with appealing the hearing result.  But at that point, the attorney is stuck with the record and with whatever problems occurred leading up to it.

Of all the stages above, the unemployment hearing is a critical juncture.  If you are going to talk to an attorney, best to do so before the hearing.

With that said, a worker can always contact an attorney at any time (never say never), and workers can and have won appeals of hearings that were lost.  But the more time that passes, and the more events above that come and go, the less assistance there is that an attorney could potentially offer.

Please note this post does not provide legal advice- if you want legal advice, you must talk to an attorney about your specific situation. If you are interested in legal assistance from attorney-author Michael Brown or his law firm DVG Law Partner for your Wisconsin unemployment matter, please contact us here:

WI Unemployment - No Fees Unless You Win

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