UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT DENIALS – FILE AN APPEAL ON TIME!
If you were fired because of your religious refusal to accept a medical treatment, and you were then denied unemployment benefits, be sure to file an appeal, ON TIME. While many employers are contesting unemployment benefits (shamefully), and while many initial claims are denied, in our members experience, a large majority of unemployment benefit claims that are appealed on time are resolved IN FAVOR OF THE APPLICANT!
In Illinois, for example, I am aware of MANY NorthShore Hospital employees who were initially denied unemployment benefits. Out of those who appealed on time, 100% were ultimately approved for benefits.
If you miss your appeal deadline, even by one day, your claim to unemployment compensation is likely gone forever. Find out your appeal deadline (your denial notice should provide it), and then make sure you beat it by several days. Don’t wait until the last minute.
The two most often employed reasons for denying unemployment claims are “Misconduct” and “Voluntary Leaving.” They are both BOGUS. Here are some tips for your appeal in dealing with such claims:
“MISCONDUCT.” This usually applies to such things as theft from the employer, harassment of other employees, being constantly late for work, drinking on the job, etc. It has absolutely no basis when it comes to a religious refusal of employer-mandated medical treatment. In your appeal, explain that you did not engage in any “misconduct.” You asked for a reasonable accommodation to a work rule because it conflicted with your sincerely held religious beliefs. The employer refused to provide any accommodation. The employer forced you to choose between your job and your religious convictions, and it is NOT “misconduct” for you to stay true to your religious beliefs. You are entitled to benefits. (Provide documentation of your religious exemption request, including any appeal, and the employer’s denial).
“VOLUNTARY LEAVING.” In your appeal, make it clear that, regardless of the creative terminology used by your employer (such as “unpaid leave”), the fact of the matter is that you were TERMINATED for refusing a medical treatment on religious grounds. You WANTED to work. You were AVAILABLE to work. But your employer STOPPED you from working because you would not violate your religious beliefs. That’s a “termination,” plain and simple. You did not “voluntarily leave” your job. You are entitled to benefits. (Provide documentation of your religious exemption request, including any appeal, and the employer’s denial).