Filing for Unemployment in Virginia


Standing in front of this video camera has made me incredibly self-conscious. And, I think, that self-consciousness is gonna last for weeks, if not the rest of my life. But that’s okay, if I’m able to impart some information that helps you vindicate some rights.

In today’s video, I’d like to talk to you about unemployment benefits. Here you need to understand three key points. And the first is you need to understand the structure, they’re over the phone. In Virginia, the first level is always over the phone. And a hearing deputy will call you on a conference line and your employer will be on the other line. And, essentially, the hearing deputy will just ask some very basic questions. In this hearing, you have the right to ask your employer questions, they have the right to ask you questions that probe at who’s telling the truth. But it’s pretty informal and not too complex. And in most cases, they’re simple enough that the employer doesn’t send someone onto the call. So it’s just your word, or the facts are fairly clear. And most times, the employee is able to prove they are entitled to benefits.

So, that leads me to my second point, which is, why are you entitled to benefits? And that’s because, in most cases, an employer will contest your rights and claim that you engaged in some misconduct. Well, misconduct is not a full course termination or a poor performance termination. Misconduct in Virginia is a very high standard for an employer to meet. And it is that they must show that you intentionally violated an employer’s rule that’s designed to protect their business interest, or that your behavior was so frequent or so bad in a single instance that it shows you clearly have no regards for your employer’s rights. And that’s a heavy burden to meet. It’s something like, cursing out your boss in front of customers, or refusing assignments or skipping work without excuse frequently.

The third point that you need to understand is called the burden of proof. The burden of proof means, if everything else is equal, who does the tie go to? And in the case of misconduct, or your employer alleges you’ve engaged in misconduct, they bear the burden, and courts have held that it’s a heavy burden. So, what does that mean practically? So, imagine a circumstance where you were terminated from work, no one ever told you why, HR came down to your desk and said, “You’re not our employee. We’ve decided to go different ways.” And that’s it. And I was told by HR that I’m not their employee and they wanted to go in different directions. Because they bear the burden of proof, your employer will be unable to disqualify you in that case. Hopefully, these three points will help you win your unemployment benefits hearing, and my self-consciousness will be made well worth it. Good luck.