The unemployment appeal process is governed by Georgia Employment Security Law and the Rules of the Georgia Department of Labor. We represent parties at all stages of the unemployment appeal process, both before the Georgia Department of Labor and, if necessary, before many superior courts in the state of Georgia. Below is a summary of unemployment appeal procedures.
This is the first step of the appeal process. It is an adversary hearing conducted by an administrative hearing officer who will determine an appealing party’s eligibility for benefits. Most unemployment appeal hearings are conducted by telephone. They are all tape recorded, and all testimony is taken under oath or affirmation. Both the employer and claimant can participate in the hearing, and offer testimony and evidence in support of their case. After the hearing is closed, a hearing officer will release a decision by mail. If either party disagrees with the hearing officer’s decision, they can appeal to the Board of Review. What many parties fail to realize is that the hearing before the appeals tribunal is the ONLY chance you will get to present your evidence. If you fail to present relevant evidence at the hearing and lose, you will not be able to submit that evidence on appeal. Therefore, it is critical that you have legal representation at the tribunal hearing.
If you disagree with the Decision of the Administrative Hearing Officer, your next step is to file a written appeal to the Board of Review of the Georgia Department of Labor. An appeal to the Board of Review (“BOR”) is not a new hearing. The BOR, like their name implies, “reviews” the record before the administrative hearing officer to ensure it’s legal and technical accuracy. They will then release a written decision which affirms, reverses, or modifies the hearing officer’s decision. Parties may submit written argument to the BOR, but their written argument MUST be based solely on the record before the Administrative Hearing Officer. The BOR cannot consider any new evidence.
If you lose your appeal to the BOR, you can ask them to reconsider their decision. This is known as a Motion for Reconsideration, and it must be submitted within fifteen (15) days of the release date of the BOR’s initial decision on your appeal. Unlike the initial appeal to the Board, a Motion for Reconsideration is optional, and is generally not recommended unless you failed to raise a due process or other critical argument in your initial appeal to the Board of Review.
This process is referred to as a “Petition for Judicial Review.” You can petition the Superior Court in the county where your work was performed AFTER you have exhausted your administrative remedies (which means after you have appealed a Claims Examiner’s Determination, participated in an administrative hearing, then appealed to the BOR and lost. A Motion for Reconsideration is not necessary in order to exhaust your administrative remedies). Petitions for Judicial Review are governed by the “any evidence” rule, which means if there is any evidence to support the fact finding of the BOR, the facts must be affirmed, and the jurisdiction of the court is limited to questions of law. Because a petitioner is required to demonstrate reversible legal error, this is a very high standard to meet. Therefore, you need an experienced attorney to carefully evaluate the merits of your case. Lisa Sowers has extensive experience in unemployment judicial review matters, chooses her cases very carefully, and as a result, has achieved a high level of success when handling these claims.