Unemployment: Hearing by Telephone with Appeals Referee - Discharged

Authored By: Legal Aid of North Carolina

Quick Facts


The hearing is very important because it is the only place in the appeals process where you will be able to present all your evidence. You must be sure that the number listed on the notice of hearing is correct.



You may wish to have witnesses. A witness can be subpoenaed to attend the hearing. You will need to get a home address and telephone number of the witness. Generally, you should only subpoena a witness if (1) you have talked with the potential witness and feel confident that the person will testify in your favor, and (2) the person was present during the events surrounding your discharge or quit.



The appeals referee assigned to your case can issue the subpoena. You should give the appeals referee at least one week advance notice of the need for a subpoena. You can locate the appeals referee by calling the DES in Raleigh at (919) 707-1060 and ask for the location of your particular referee. You will get a phone number for where the referee can be located that day. You will then need to call that number. It is easiest to contact the referee 5-10 minutes before each hour. If the referee is in a hearing, then you will have to leave a message and wait for a return call.



You should be at your phone five minutes prior to the time set for the hearing. Sometimes, the appeals referee may be delayed in calling. You should remain at your telephone for at least 15 minutes after the time set for hearing. If you do not receive a call after 15 minutes, you should call the DES in Raleigh at (919) 707-1060 and state you were scheduled for an appeal hearing and did not receive a call.

When the appeals referee calls the hearing to order, all persons involved will be identified and sworn in. The appeals referee will ask if you had the opportunity to review the case file prior to the hearing. The appeals referee will explain the procedure for the hearing. The hearing is tape recorded. Only one person speaks at a time.



Since you were discharged the employer will testify first. When the employer is done, you may or may not wish to ask questions. Then it will be your turn to testify.



The employer’s representative will tell his side of the story. You should listen take notes, but do not interrupt. You will have an opportunity to ask questions to any witness for the employer.



You will explain the circumstances surrounding your discharge and respond to any allegations made by the employer. You should be brief, polite, and calm. You should answer questions directly and to the point. The appeals referee will not be pleased if you interrupt, give long rambling answers, or become too argumentative.



If you have any documents, be sure to bring a copy for you, a copy for the employer and a copy for the appeals referee. Since your hearing is by telephone, then you will need to mail a copy of the document to both the appeals referee and the employer prior to the hearing.



The appeals referee will not give you a decision at the end of the hearing. You will receive a written decision in the mail within 2-3 weeks. The decision will contain a pamphlet explaining how to appeal if you disagree with the decision.



  • Witness notified or subpoenaed

  • If subpoenas needed, contact the appeals referee

  • If needed, have correct home telephone and address for witnesses

  • Documents copied and delivered to Appeals Referee and Employer at least one week in advance.

  • Have a clear brief explanation of why you were discharged.

  • Make sure you are sitting by the telephone at least 5 min early and remain for at least 15 minutes if the call is not received as scheduled.  


To find other Legal Aid of North Carolina materials, including any materials mentioned in this document, go to LawhelpNC.org/. If you need legal help please go to legalaidnc.org/.



Last Review and Update: Jun 27, 2012
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