Denver Colorado Unemployment Insurance Attorney



To hear Brian Stutheit interviewed about unemployment law on Colorado Public Radio, follow this link:

Unemployment Insurance appeal attorney fees:

We do not charge for a preliminary phone discussion.

If you hire us, unemployment benefits appeals fees are capped.  For $800 we take over the entire handling of your appeal and attend the appeal hearing by telephone with our client, from our office.  For $950, we attend your hearing in person.  We write off any charges if the hourly fees exceed that total.  For your fee, we cover as many client meetings as necessary, prepare all filings with the Colorado Division of Unemployment, conduct prehearing  investigation and witness preparation, subpoena witnesses or records, and appear as your attorney at your hearing. Note: hearings outside metro Denver are never in person.

Some clients pay us to meet for an hour or hour and a half.  During that time we help word their appeals, tell them what they should do to prepare for their hearing, and give our own opinion what is good and bad in their case.  Then they feel prepared to represent themselves.  The charge for this is $250.

We charge $650 for appeals of hearing officer rulings to the Industrial Claims Appeals panel.  The panel will not hear new evidence or arguments which could have been raised before the hearing officer.  Almost all appeals we have won were from hearings where we participated, because we made a good record for appeal.

Except in complicated cases, we charge $800 to represent clients against overpayment demands or unemployment tax audits.

We also litigate unemployment matters before the Colorado Court of Appeals, the final level of appeals.

Get legal representation at the first appeal (hearing officer) stage.   The appeal hearing before the hearing officer is your only chance to present all your arguments, witnesses and evidence.  You don’t get another opportunity.  If you don’t have a lawyer for your hearing, you are endangering your claim and further appeals.

Before you appeal a deputy’s decision, or respond to an appeal from the other side, you should have a lawyer.  What you say in your appeal documents must track the law.  Careless statements written in your appeal will hurt you at the hearing.  New facts or arguments cannot be introduced for the first time at the hearing.  Evidence and requirements of proof are more like being in court than you expect.  The law for appeals hearings says the rules of evidence shall conform, to the extent practicable, with those in civil cases in the district courts of Colorado.

Under many circumstances an employee who quits work may still qualify for benefits. But never assume that you will qualify for unemployment if you quit. The how and why you quit are crucial. Talk to a lawyer before you resign.

Talk to a lawyer before you write a letter explaining what happened at work, or apologizing.  These often backfire. For example, one client wrote his supervisor to acknowledge he had made a mistake and ask for leniency.  To the unemployment hearing officer, this was an admission the employee  was at fault.

If you are an employer and do not want to pay the employee benefits, make sure your documentation supports denial of benefits when you terminate.  Most employers assume wrongly that just because they have the right to fire an employee, that means the employee will not get unemployment.

You Must Prepare and Participate
If you are a claimant and the employer wins the appeal, your benefits will be stopped and you will probably be asked to repay benefits you already received.

The hearing officer’s decision is based only on evidence presented at the hearing. You must present and defend your position thoroughly before the hearing officer. You must know what facts are going to be important to the hearing officer based on the law.  Without a lawyer your unemployment appeal could be flawed.

We also protect against employer audits, overpayment and repayment demands, and claims of fraud.

Know your rights.  File appeals and responses on time. Never assume the Division of Unemployment will catch or correct its own mistakes. Penalties are severe – up to 65% in addition to the claimed overpayment.

While your appeal is pending, keep claiming benefits. 

Read these topics from the Stutheit & Gartland  blog.  For other topics open the blog tab atop this page:

  • Employment law – who is an independent contractor

    Two developments from California this week are significant to Colorado employment and unemployment law.  Both developments have employers paying a price for trying to call their workers independent contractors rather than employees. The American Bar Association reports FedEx agreed to settle multiple lawsuits alleging that it misclassified its delivery drivers in California as independent contractors. […]

  • Colorado unemployment law – marijuana user disqualified

    The law in Colorado is that someone can be fired for using medical marijuana.  The law also is that an employee is disqualified from unemployment benefits if fired for marijuana. The ruling of the Colorado Supreme Court in Coats v. Dish Network, June 15, 2015 allowed an employer to fire an employee for marijuana use.  […]

  • Colorado Unemployment Law – appeal of hearing officer decision

    This Colorado unemployment lawyer’s blog discusses unemployment appeals to the Colorado industrial claims appeals office after a hearing officer decision. Hearing officers are attorneys who function as administrative law judges. In our experience the hearing officers at unemployment appeals usually try to be fair, and they make the right decision much more often than they […]

  • Review by a happy unemployment appeal client

    Highly Recommended Brian K. Stutheit successfully represented me in my appeal against a former employer which used bully tactics, intimidation, and outright lies to deny my unemployment insurance claim. Brian informed me of my rights as an employee, as well as state code – both of which the employer clearly violated. Thanks to Brian’s legal […]

  • Unemployment hearing – phone or in person?

    Unemployment appeal hearing officers say it makes no difference to them whether a witness appears for an unemployment hearing personally, or by phone. It does sometimes make a difference. In person hearings are conducted in a hearing officer’s office, at a conference table. If both sides appear in person, they will be seated across from […]

  • Colorado unemployment law – talent agency not employer

    In June 2014 an unemployment appeals hearing officer ruled that a talent agency which locates jobs for actors was an employer of those actors.  That talent agency was a client of Stutheit & Gartland.  The result of the hearing officer’s ruling required the talent agency to pay unemployment taxes retroactively for three years for dozens […]

  • Colorado wage claims – new law helps employees

    On January 1, 2015 Colorado’s “Wage Protection Act of 2014” went into effect.  The new law gives increased power to the division of labor in the department of labor and employment to force employers to pay overdue wages.  The division of labor may issue a notice of complaint to the employer, and the employer must […]

  • How Unemployment Benefits Affect Employers

    This is not a question with a simple answer.  The Colorado Department of Labor sets basic rates (percentages of payroll) which it charges employers.  These basic rates depend in large part on what industry the employer is in.  I will call these rates “premiums” because they are in essence premiums for unemployment insurance.  Non-construction employers […]

  • Unemployment fraud penalties

    Despite knowing that it is improper and unlawful, the Colorado Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Integrity Benefit Payment Control section  continues to send citizens demands for repayment which include a 65% penalty for fraud.  This is outrageous. It is the Benefit Payment Control people who send out notices of overpayment and demands for repayment of […]

  • When Bosses Discriminate Against Pregnant Women

    “Two weeks after I returned from maternity leave to my job in Boston as a television-news producer, I found myself facing a demotion. My bosses were kind, even apologetic. The move did not affect my pay and did not reduce my hours. Simply put: The man they had placed in my position during my leave […]