Atwater Law PLLC
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Suite 612
Durham, NC 27701

North Carolina Unemployment Lawyers

Helping Claimants Obtain the Unemployment Benefits They Rightly Deserve

Understanding the Unemployment Appeal Case File

If you have been disqualified from receiving  unemployment benefits and have filed an appeal, your case will be scheduled for a hearing. Shortly after you file your appeal, you should receive a packet in the mail from the Division of Employment Security. The packet will contain what is commonly referred to as the case file.

The case file contains important documents relating to your unemployment appeal. Typically, the case filed will include some variation of the following documents:

Notice of Hearing for Unemployment Appeal

The Notice of Hearing document informs the claimant and the employer of the date and time of the unemployment appeal hearing. In addition, it will indicate the name of the Appeals Referee (i.e., judge) who is assigned to preside over the unemployment appeal hearing.

The Notice of Hearing will also indicate the hearing issues. Understanding the hearings issues is very important. First, the hearings issues determine which party has the burden of proof. In addition, the hearing issues will dictate what type of evidence is required to prevail at your unemployment hearing.

In a vast majority of cases, there will be two hearings issues: (1) Whether the claimant left work without good cause attributable to the employer ; and (2) whether the claimant was discharged for misconduct connected with work.

However, depending on the case, there may be other issues as well.

Initial Statements Regarding the Reasons for Separation

Included in the packet, you can find your initial statement when you originally filed for unemployment benefits, as well as any statements you made when you filed your appeal. This document is important because the Appeals Referee will look at what statements you made prior to your hearing to make sure there are no inconsistencies. If there are any inconsistent statements, you need to be prepared to explain these inconsistencies.

Request for Separation Information From Employer  (500AB)

The Request for Separation Information from Employer document, also known as a 500AB form, is a two page document that employers use to provide details regarding why a claimant was separated from employment. This form is particularly important because it gives you an opportunity to determine the reason why the employer is contesting your benefits.


The SIDES Response is an alternative method used by employers to provide details regarding why a claimant was separated from the employment. This form is typically 4-6 pages long. This form, just like the Request for Separation Information From Employer form, is particularly important because it gives you an opportunity to determine the reason why the employer is contesting your benefits. It is important to review this information so that you can be better prepared for what the employer will present at the hearing.

Adjudicator Fact Finding Form/Telephone Notes

In some cases, before the  initial determination is made as to whether to grant a claimant unemployment benefits, an adjudicator will contact the parties by phone and make notes of the conversation.

Receipt Transmittal of Appeal (Appeal Statement)

The packet will also typically include a document titled Receipt Transmittal of Appeal, which is a  form used by the an appealing party to appeal an initial determination regarding the denial or award of unemployment benefits.

While is generally sufficient to write “I appeal” on the Receipt Transmittal of Appeal form, an appealing party will sometimes attach a more detailed statement of why they think the initial decision (i.e., determination) was wrong.

In any event, the packet should include all statements made in connection with the appeal. As you prepare for your unemployment appeal hearing, it is very important that you review all statements that you have made in connection with your claim. This is important because you want to make sure that you are consistent in your statements. Moreover, if there are seemingly inconsistent statements (e.g., Claimant’s initial statement  is somewhat different from Claimant’s statement of Appeal), you will wan to be prepared to explain, reconcile, or otherwise address said issues.

Telephone Hearing Questionnaire

The Telephone Hearing Questionnaire document is a form used to update the Appeals Referee of your new telephone number and the names and telephone numbers of any witnesses that you may have . For example, if you have witnessed that you want to testify on your behalf at your unemployment hearing, you will list there names and their telephones numbers and send it to the Appeals Referee. Moreover, if you would like the Appeals Referee to contact you at a number different than the number already on file (i.e., the telephone listed on the Notice of Hearing), you will need to list your the alternate telephone number.

Employer Policies

In many instances, the employer will include copies of  company policies from handbooks and/or manuals.  For example, if the employer discharged a claimant for tardiness, the employer will likely submit a copy an attendance policy.

Personnel Records

Employers often submit additional personnel records.   For example, an employer may submit copies of a termination letter and/or form which purports to document the alleged reasons for Claimant’s discharge.  The Employer may also include copies of prior warnings, write-ups, correction actions, coaching and/or counseling forms.

Miscellaneous Evidence

Depending of the nature of the case, the employer may submit additional documentary evidence. For example, in a case where the employer alleges that a claimant failed a drug test, the employer may submit a copy of the test results and/or chain of custody.


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