The Star Witness for an Unemployment Hearing was in the Mirror

Star WitnessThe star witness for every unemployment appeal hearing is always the applicant seeking benefits.  Unfortunately, looking into the mirror can be difficult to handle.  Below are a few tips for an unemployment witness exhibiting the right credentials.


Star Witness Selection

A lot of people pursuing an appeal for unemployment love the idea of playing Matlock.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but an unemployment hearing is hardly the place an applicant should be lining up punch lines to win over a jury.  First, there is no jury.  Second, the punch line needs to delivered far sooner than minutes before the phone appeal ends.


When selecting the star witness, I like the idea of working to perfect verbal feedback offered as direct testimony.  Usually, this is the applicant.  After the applicant, there is everybody else.

Witness Duds

Including the employee who fighting for their benefits, a witness can quickly turn into a dud when they:

  • Fail to understand the goal of a hearing,
  • Act confuse,
  • Speak with fear,
  • Come across as overly confident,
  • Speculate,
  • Change tunes, or are
  • Aggressively adversarial with a Judge.

Luckily, unemployment witnesses can change from dud to star with a little feedback, practice, and more practice.

Witness Scope for an Unemployment Hearing

How far or to what level a star witness should be prepared depends on the scope of the case.  Very often, a witness cannot speak to every fact or raised issue.  But, speaking to policies and first-hand accounts (even if limited) can be very powerful.

Being Under Oath is a Rule

As you might expect, people giving testimony at an unemployment hearing are under oath.  Despite this fact, many witnesses lie when they have an interest in the outcome of the case.

For this reason, I like the idea of taking notes during a hearing when a lie is presented such that a witness or applicant can circle back and offer additional testimony to disprove a lie.