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Fighting Against Discrimination in the Workplace in Rhode Island

Serving Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, Cumberland and all of Providence County

Rhode Island Unemployment Appeals/Employment Law

Residents in Rhode Island have rights when it comes to unemployment benefits, and if you are denied your benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. For more than 20 years, Attorney Matthew J. Brier has helped residents throughout Providence and Bristol Counties receive the compensation they want – and deserve. He combines his expertise in unemployment law with his passion to help his clients in order to get clients what’s rightfully theirs.
When are you eligible for unemployment benefits in Rhode Island?

  • You must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed to qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Rhode Island law, to qualify.
  • You must be able and available to work, and you must be actively seeking employment.
  • You must have earned at least $3,600 during the entire base period to get unemployment benefits.
  • You must have earned at least $1,800 during the highest paid quarter of the base period.
  • In the entire base period, you must have earned at least 1.5 times what you earned in the highest paid quarter to receive benefits.

If these criteria apply to you and you did not receive unemployment benefits, you can file an appeal to receive them.


How do you have to leave your job to qualify for unemployment benefits in Rhode Island?

  • Layoffs– If you were laid off or were “downsized” for economic reasons, you will meet this requirement for benefits, and if you are denied them, you will win an unemployment appeal case.
  • Firing– If you were fired because you lacked the skills to perform the job or simply weren’t a good fit, you won’t necessarily be barred from receiving unemployment benefits. But if you were fired for misconduct relating to your job, you do not qualify to receive benefits. Under Rhode Island law, misconduct is classified as intentionally disregarding the employer’s interests or knowingly violating a reasonable and consistently enforced workplace rule or policy.  The only exception is if the violation was due to incompetence.  If you are denied your benefits, an appeal may award you what your company did not.
  • Quitting– If you quit your job, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless you had good cause. Generally, leaving a job with a good cause means that your reason for leaving the position was job-related and was so compelling that you had no other choice than to leave. For example, if you left your job because of you were harassed by your boss, you may be able to collect benefits. Some compelling personal reasons, such as to relocate with your spouse, to escape domestic violence, or to care for a family member who is ill or has a disability, might also entitle you to unemployment benefits. If you feel that you were denied something that is rightfully yours, file an appeal with us and we will do whatever it takes to get you the benefits you deserve.


What you need to know about unemployment appeals in Rhode Island

  1. You have unemployment rights. If you feel like you were denied unemployment benefits that you deserve, you can submit an appeal to the Board of Review for a ruling.
  2. There is a statute of limitations.  Rhode Island residents must file an appeal within 15 days of the date on their denial of benefits letter.  
  3. You have a right to free council. If you are trying to receive unemployment benefits, chances are you can’t afford the extra bill that comes with an attorney.  Don’t worry about this.  You are entitled to are entitled to Free Legal Representation by an Unemployment Insurance Attorney at the hearing.


How much and how long do you get RI unemployment benefits?

  • If you receive unemployment, your weekly rate will be 3.85% of your average quarterly wages in the two quarters of the base period in which you earned the most.
  • The maximum weekly benefit amount is currently $566
  • The minimum weekly benefit amount is currently $46.
  • If you have a child under 18 or 18 and over with disabilities, Rhode Island will give a dependents’ allowance. The dependents’ allowance is an additional $15 or 5% of your weekly benefit amount (whichever is greater) per dependent, up to a maximum of five dependents.You may receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. (In times of very high unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be available.)


What needs to happen before you file a Rhode Island Unemployment Appeal?

You must have received your denial of your unemployment benefits in writing from the Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training.


What happens after you file an Unemployment Appeal- RI?

  • Once benefits have been denied, your appeal can be made.
  • Once an appeal is made, your  case enters the jurisdiction of the Board of Review and a hearing is scheduled before a hearing officer also known as the Referee.
  • A fair hearing by an impartial Referee will decide your case after considering the testimony of all witnesses and any  evidence you present.


What type of Rhode Island discrimination cases does Matthew Brier take on?

Age- It is illegal for an employer to treat an applicant or employee unfavorably because of their age. If any term or condition of employment has been violated directly due to age, you have a case for age discrimination, and could be awarded damages for the unjust treatment.

Gender- Discrimination on the basis of gender takes many forms- sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and unequal pay for women who do the same jobs as men. Both men and women are entitled to equal treatment in the workplace, and if an employer or supervisor refuses to treat all employees equally, you have grounds for a gender discrimination suit.

Religion- Treating employees differently or unfavorably because of religious beliefs or cultural preferences is prevented by Rhode Island law. If you experience wrongful treatment based on your beliefs, Matthew Brier can support your discrimination suit and protect you from further wrongdoing.

Pregnancy- If your pregnancy or anticipated pregnancy caused you to be passed over for a position or your employer began treating you as less valuable than other employees, your employer is violating your rights. Attorney Matthew Brier is fully capable of working in your favor to make sure that you are treated fairly by your employer no matter what your situation.

Disability- If you have a disability, whether if it’s yourself or someone in your family that you need to take care of, an employer cannot refuse to give you a job or refuse you disability payments.  You have rights as an employee and if you feel as though your employer is keeping you from jobs or pay that you deserve, Attorney Brier can give you the information that you need to fight back.

Non Compete Law- Non-compete law is designed to protect businesses’ former employees from disclosing valuable trade secrets and confidential information. Former employees will not be able to have an unfair advantage over their former company due to confidential information. Non-competes are often accompanied by non-solicit and non-disclosure agreements. The problem comes in when there are other strings attached to a non-compete agreement that can make it difficult for former employees to get another job. If your company boxed you in with a non-compete agreement, Matthew Brier will work with you to help get you out of that situation and allow you to move on from your former job.


Severance Pay Cases

Severance agreements are usually in place to prevent an employee from ever being able to file a lawsuit against an employer in the future. The package, in essence, serves as a peace of mind to the employer. But it can come at your expense. These releases range from non-competes to non-solicitations, executive employment agreements and more.

Before you put pen to paper on any agreement, it’s important that you seek the counsel of an experienced employment law attorney in Rhode Island, who can cut through the legalese and tell you how you’ll be affected by signing your name.


Wage, Overtime, & Class Actions

By working, you are entitled to fair pay.  Wage laws cover:

  • Overtime pay
  • Wage/hour violations
  • Salary & commission miscalculations
  • Wrongful deductions
  • Issues with vacation pay
  • Misclassifying employee status (such as independent contractor vs. employee)

The Attorney General of Rhode Island enforces local and federal laws relating to wages to employees. These laws provide a set of standards for when, how and how much employees must be paid, at minimum.  If you are being denied your rightful pay, Matthew Brier will take your case and hold your employer responsible for the wages that you are owed.

Both federal and state laws protect the rights of employees over the age of 40 from being discriminated against because of their age. However, throughout Rhode Island, age discrimination in the workplace still exists. Men and women are being treated differently, because of their age, which can affect:

  • Promotions
  • Training opportunities
  • Job assignments
  • Compensation/benefits
  • And more

Despite clear laws protecting the rights of workers over the age of 40, winning an age discrimination case is not easy, due to certain case laws. That’s why it’s important to work with a qualified attorney, such as Attorney Matthew J. Brier, who has extensive knowledge, background, and a passion when it comes to protecting the rights of workers over the age of 40 throughout Rhode Island.

You can win your age discrimination case with the right support

Age discrimination cases fall into two categories:

  • Disparate treatment (more common)
  • Disparate impact

Disparate treatment means a company is accused of poor treatment toward an individual due to his or her age.

Disparate impact involves a policy that exists within a company that intentionally or unintentionally affects older workers.

Regardless of which case your situation falls into, the burden of proof lies with you. In order to win your case, you need the expertise of a qualified employee law attorney, such as Matthew J. Brier. Brier can offer you legal advice and support as he compiles a winning argument that will get you what’s rightfully yours.