How To Lose Your Next Unemployment Comp Claim

(This post was written by Rick Dacri, April 1, 2016)

face-extreme-1554895There is nothing more frustrating than losing an unemployment compensation claim when you know the employee should not be eligible to collect. Too often, I find supervisors pulling out their hair out and lashing out at the system. How could they let this “bad employee” collect?

Generally, there are 4 disqualifying events for employees:

  1. Fired for misconduct (not performance);
  2. Voluntary quit without good cause attributed to the employment;
  3. Not available or unable to work full-time; and
  4. Not citizen or authorized to work

If any of these events are present, the employee cannot collect unemployment. Now there are nuances and interpretations, but if one of these applies, their claim will be denied.

While the system is not without faults, many times, mistakes are made by employers and ultimately costing them at the hearing. Here are 10 ways that will guarantee you a loss:

  1. Terminating in the heat of the moment: when supervisors lose their cool, scream at the employee and fire on the spot, you’re likely to lose.
  2. Failing to discuss the problem prior to termination: without some sort of notice, ideally a written warning, and the employee will likely win.
  3. Terminating without reasonable warning: as noted above, hearing officers expect that you will provide an employee fair warning before terminating.
  4. Ignoring company procedures or prior warnings: if you’re going to have a handbook outlining discipline and termination procedures, than follow them. If you’re not going to follow them, get rid of them.
  5. Taking no action when employees complain: listen to your employees and take actions where appropriate.
  6. Providing no documentation: no documentation and “it didn’t happen.” This may sound unfair, but that’s how it works.
  7. Missing a claim response or appeal deadline: When a claim is filed, immediately respond. No excuses for lateness and telling them that your dog ate it won’t work either.
  8. Changing the explanation for the work separation: Be consistent. If you’re going to fire, stick to a single reason. Throwing everything at the employee may make you feel better, but it sure won’t help your claim.
  9. Failing to prove the case against the claimant: Have your documentation ready, all witnesses present and the employee’s supervisor present at the hearing. Build a solid case and prepare your testimony. This is not the time to wing it.
  10. Failing to present first hand testimony from eyewitnesses: Hearings are not the time to send HR to do the heavy lifting. Reread #9.

Do your homework. Treat your employees right when they are working for you and if you must fire them, follow your procedures.

I will be discussing how to Properly Discipline, Terminate & Win Unemployment Claims at my May 18 webinar. For details, click Webinar.

For additional information or assistance, contact me at or 207-229-5954.

Other posts of value for you:

  1. Don’t Let Poor Performers Collect
  2. When Competitive Pay is Not Enough
  3. Answers to Complex Workplace Issues

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