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The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Process

The Agency Decision

 

When a claim for unemployment benefits is filed that involves a separation issue, the separating employer is notified and given seven days to provide information to the claims office about the reason for the claimant’s separation from employment.  The employer’s statements, if any, the forms completed by the claimant when the claim was filed, and any other pertinent documents are reviewed by an adjudicator.  The adjudicator is a well-trained and experienced Agency representative who makes a decision on the claim based on all the available facts and the applicable Tennessee state law. 

 

The Agency Decision is mailed to both the claimant and the employer.  Either party who disagrees with that decision may appeal to the Appeals Tribunal by making a written request within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the Agency’s decision.  See the “How to Appeal” section for further information.   

 

The Appeals Tribunal

 

After a request for an appeal is received, the Appeals Tribunal mails the claimant and the employer a Notice of Hearing setting forth the time, date, and location of the hearing.  The hearing may be in-person or by telephoneTo see a sample of an Appeals hearing click here.

  

Each party has the following rights:

 

1.  To testify on its own behalf;  

     All testimony is taken under oath and recorded.

 

2.  To have witnesses testify;  

     Witnesses should have firsthand knowledge of the issues involved.         

     If a witness will not attend a hearing voluntarily, the individual can be subpoenaed.

 

Requests for subpoenas for witnesses or documents must be submitted in writing, at least 7 days prior the date scheduled for the hearing, to the Appeals Tribunal giving the name and mailing address of the witness and a brief explanation of why the witness is needed to testify.  

 

Requests for subpoenas should be made at the time the appeal is filed or as soon as possible thereafter.

 

3. To present a document as evidence; 

Bring the original to the hearing. Copies must be provided to the Appeals Tribunal and the opposing party at least 48 hours prior to the hearing.  If the hearing is by telephone, send a copy to the other party and to the Appeals Tribunal at least 48 hours prior to the hearing.  If a subpoena is needed to secure documentary evidence, the written request must specifically describe the document(s), why it is important, and where it is located.

 

4.  To question opposing parties and witnesses;

 

5.  To examine all documents that are submitted as evidence; 

     Requests for a copy of the case file should be made prior to the hearing.

 

6.  To be represented by an attorney or other representative

Interested parties may be represented by an attorney, if they wish.  Attorney fees are the responsibility of the party represented.  If you cannot afford an attorney, free or low cost legal assistance may be available through your local Bar Association or Legal Services Organization.  Attorneys who hold a license outside of the state of Tennessee must abide by Supreme Court Rule 19 prior to the scheduled hearing. They must also enter a notice of appearance.

 

A copy of the Appeals Tribunal’s decision will be mailed to both parties.  If you disagree with the Appeals Tribunal’s decision, you have the right to appeal that decision in writing to the Office of Administrative Review at the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Legal Division, 220 French Landing Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37243-1002, telephone number (615)741-2736 or fax number (615)741-0290.   An appeal to the Office of Administrative Review may be filed by mail, fax, or in person.  The appeal must be filed or postmarked within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the Appeals Tribunal Decision.

 

 

The Office of Administrative Review

 

When a notice of appeal is filed with the Office of Administrative Review, a hearing is not automatically scheduled.  All interested parties are given the opportunity to offer additional evidence; if the additional evidence is relevant to the issue under appeal, an additional hearing may be scheduled.  All interested parties will be notified by mail of the time, date, and location of the hearing.  Requests for subpoenas should conform to the same guidelines that apply to hearings before the Appeals Tribunal.  The OAR will not accept an e-mail as a valid request for an appeal.

 

If no additional evidence is to be presented, the Office of Administrative Review will review the evidence presented before the Appeals Tribunal.  After considering all evidence, the Office of Administrative Review may agree with, change, or reverse the Appeals Tribunal Decision.  A written copy of the Office of Administrative Review Decision will be mailed to all designated parties. 

 

The Courts

 

If you choose to have the case reviewed beyond the Office of Administrative Review, you must file a petition against the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development in Chancery Court of the Tennessee county where you live.  Out-of-state appellants may file in Davidson County Chancery Court.  This will be a formal legal proceeding in Court, so it is advisable that the appellant consult an attorney at this point.  There will then be a judicial review of the decision made by this department.

 

 

Who May Appeal?

 

Either a claimant or an employer may appeal any decision made by this Department regarding a claim.  When a Notice of Appeal is filed, a hearing before an appeals hearing officer will be scheduled, and both parties will be notified and may participate.  Hearings are informal but held in a structured manner according to the rules of the Administrative Procedures Act.  Both parties will be given all assistance possible to help them understand the proceedings and to present their cases.

 

When To Appeal

 

A letter or notice of appeal must be filed within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the decision.  Otherwise, by law, that decision will become final.

 

How To Appeal

 

In order to file an appeal of an Agency Decision, a letter or notice of appeal must be filed within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the decision.  Otherwise, by law, that decision will become final.

 

A request for an appeals hearing must be submitted in writing.  It may be on an official form available on the Department’s Web click here , or it may simply be a letter stating that the party wishes to appeal, sent by mail, fax or e-mail, to the Appeals Tribunal.  The claimant’s social security number must be included on all correspondence.

 

The Appeal’s Tribunal office’s mailing address is:

        

        

        Appeals Tribunal

      Dept of Labor and Workforce Development

      220 French Landing Drive

      Nashville, Tennessee 37243-1002

 

The fax number for the Appeals Tribunal office is: (615)741-8933. 

 

The e-mail address for the central office is: AT.NewAppeals@tn.gov.

 

For questions related to the filing of an appeal to the Appeals Tribunal, contact the front desk at: (615)741-1857 or 1-800-344-8337. Note, we cannot provide you with legal advice and if such advice is needed please contact your attorney or local legal aid provider.

 

In order to file an appeal of a decision of the Appeals Tribunal, the appealing party must draft a written letter of appeal to the Office of Administrative Review stating the parties desire to appeal the decision of the Appeals Tribunal and the reason(s) for the appeal sent by mail or fax or in-person, within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the Appeals Tribunal decision, to the Nashville office of the Office of Administrative Review. E-mail appeals to the Office of Administrative Review will not be accepted. The claimant’s social security number must be included on all correspondence. 

 

The Office of Administrative Review Mailing address is:

 

         Office of Administrative Review, Legal Division

         Dept of Labor and Workforce Development

         220 French Landing Drive

         Nashville, TN 37243-1002

 

The fax number for the Office of Administrative Review is: (615)741-0290

 

For questions related to the filing of an appeal to the Office of Administrative Review, contact the front desk at: (615)741-2736. Note, we cannot provide you with legal advice and if such advice is needed please contact your attorney or local legal aid provider.

 

This appeals process is a part of and in compliance with the Employment Security Law, Title 50, Chapter 7, Section 101 through 714 of the Tennessee Code Annotated along with the Rules of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 0800-09-01-.01 through 0800-11-04-.09.

 

 

June 2013