If I am successful in representing you at an unemployment hearing in the State of Rhode Island, the State of Rhode Island will pay my fee. While many if not most people file for unemployment and receive benefits, it is nice to know that if for some reason the State feels that you left your job without good cause or the employer had good reason to fire you, you can get good trustworthy counsel to represent you.
In Massachusetts, I will represent you for a fee which is based on my actual time to represent you in an appeals hearing. While Massachusetts does not award attorney's fees to successful unemployment claimants, you have my word that if I take your case I will quote you up front based upon my time and that I will do everything within my power to try to make it so that my time is minimized in your hearing, while at the same time ensuring that you get the representation that you need to succeed with your claim.
An employee qualified for benefits in Rhode Island if they have:

  1. Been paid wages in any one calendar quarter of the base period which are at least $1,600.00, and
  2. Made wages in the full base period that is at least 1 and ½ times the full amount earned in the single quarter in which they made the largest amount and
  3. Earned a total of at least $3,200.00 in the four quarters prior to filing for benefits.

What that means in effect is that an employee must have wages in at least two of four quarters prior to losing their job and in one of the quarters, the employee must have made at least $2,400.00.

Under both Rhode Island, Massachusetts and the Federal Fair Labor There is an alternate base period which can be used to calculate unemployment benefits and it will be automatically calculated if you are unable to meet the test stated above.

The Benefit Rate paid to an individual is the basic weekly payment amount, excluding Dependency Allowances. It is equal to 4.38% of the average of the total wages in the two highest quarters of the base period, not to exceed the defined maximum amount. Once your Benefit Rate is determined, it remains the same for your entire Benefit Year. The maximum weekly benefit rate is $566.00. A person may be entitled to unemployment for up to 26 weeks presently, barring any Federal extensions.
Generally an employee is eligible to collect benefits if:

  1. They are fired for simply being unable to perform the position
  2. They are terminated due to a medical condition
  3. The employee is laid off due to lack of work.
An employee is not entitled to unemployment if they quit a job without good cause. To establish good cause an employee must prove:

  1. They were subjected to sexual harassment by members of either sex, and/or
  2. They have voluntarily leaving work with an employer to accompany, join or follow his or her spouse to a place, due to a change in location of the spouse's employment, from which it is impractical for such individual to commute; and/or have
  3. the need to take care for a member of the individual's immediate family due to illness or disability as defined by the Secretary of Labor; provided that the individual shall not be eligible for waiting period credit or benefits until he or she is able to work and is available for work and/or
  4. Are fleeing from Domestic Abuse.
An employee may not leave their position voluntarily if that is to:

  1. join or follow his or her spouse in a new locality in connection with the retirement of his or her spouse
  2. If they have failed to contact the temporary help agency following the end of a temporary employment unless good cause is shown for that failure provided, that the temporary help agency gave written notice to the individual to contact it at the completion of the most recent work assignment to seek additional work.
When is an employee disqualified from benefits because of their conduct?

An employee is generally not entitled to benefits when the employee was engaged in proven misconduct. "Misconduct" is defined by the act as deliberate conduct in willful disregard of the employer's interest, or a knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule or policy of the employer, provided that such violation is not shown to be as a result of the employee's incompetence.

In other words, an employee who is proven to have stolen from an employer or who violates a uniformly enforced attendance policy and is terminated will not be entitled to benefits. There are many other instances in which an employee might not be entitled to benefits. You are encouraged to speak with an Attorney about those instances if you feel that the employee has engaged in misconduct.
The State of Rhode Island will compensate a successful attorney up to 10% of the benefits at issue for any claimant they successfully represent at a hearing. In no event may an attorney charge an employee more than 10% of the maximum amount of benefits at issue.
The Commonwealth does not provide fees to sucessful claimants at unemployment. My typical fee is $650 for hearings in Brockton or Fall River and $1000 for hearings in Boston.