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Fighting Unemployment Insurance Claims Successfully

By David Prosnitz, President, Personnel Planners

Employment isn’t an eleemosynary activity and an employer is not a fount of charity to former employees.  When they leave, if the employer is at fault for the ensuing unemployment, the unemployment act reasonably says that the employer should bear the cost of the unemployment claim but if the employer is not at fault, the employee shouldn’t get benefits funded by the employer.  Who would reward bad behavior at work with benefits paid for by an employer?  Who would say the employer has a charitable duty to support someone who hurt their business?

So employers should fight unwarranted unemployment claims where the employee is at fault for his or her unemployment.  This involves protesting the initial unemployment claim and if the local unemployment generously awards benefits at your expense, you should request an unemployment hearing. The question is, what do you need to do to win?

And the secret to winning an unemployment hearing is quite simple.  Most employees are terminated for a final incident (or should be) or, if there was a quit, there may an event that actually precipitated the quit, maybe nothing more than giving notice.  Well, it turns out that the last thing that happens is the key in unemployment hearings and the basic trick in winning is to have a DIRECT witness to that wrongdoing of final event.  If someone was terminated for threatening another employee, have someone attend the hearing that saw it.  They will be able to give a time, date, place and a first-hand account of what happened.  Now the employer has real proof that the unemployment hearing judge will weigh seriously.  This is true for most terminations:  have someone who saw the final wrong doing present at the hearing!  This vastly improves your chances of winning.

Next, your witness should bring all related warnings within the past year.  You should know that warnings for misbehavior at work and for attendance are on two different tracks for unemployment matters.  And it wouldn’t hurt to bring along the policy that the company followed in making the termination!  As for quits, bring the resignation letter, bring anything connected with employee dissatisfaction and what if anything the company did about it.

And that, in plain simple English, other than the word eleemosynary, is how you can help your company win an unemployment hearing.

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