Unemployment: Hearing by Telephone with Hearing Referee - Quit

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 ESC 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 quit, you will testify first. You have to explain that you had good cause to quit. The following are good causes to quit:

  1. If the individual leaves work due to a permanent reduction in work hours of more than 50% of the customary scheduled full-time work hours. For example the employee works 40 hours a week and the employer reduces the hours to 19 or less;

  2. If the individual’s rate of pay is reduced by more than fifteen percent. For example, the employee earns $400 per week. Fifteen percent of 400 is 60. A reduction of $61.00 will be more than 15%;

  3. If the individual leaves work to accompany the employee’s spouse to a new place of residence and it is too far for the individual to reasonably continue the employment because the spouse has been reassigned from one military assigment to another.

  4. If the individual has been laid off for more than 4 weeks;

  5. If the individual is the victim of domestic violence; and

  6. Other good cause attributable to the employer.

When you are done testifying, the employer will have a chance to ask you questions. 


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. 


The employer’s representative will tell his side of the story. You should listen and

take notes, but do not interrupt. You will have an opportunity to ask questions to any witness for the employer. 


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, contacted the appeals referee

  • Documents copied

  • Have a clear brief explanation of why quit

  • Make sure you know where the hearing will be held and how to

  • Get there on time  


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 19, 2012
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