Managing Unemployment Costs

Unemployment costs have escalated in most states over the last several years. By handling documentation appropriately, the worksite employer can help manage unemployment claims more effectively.

Discharges for poor performance will not automatically disqualify a claimant from unemployment benefits. Most states define poor performance as the inability to meet company standards. The employer must prove misconduct (deliberate or willful violations of the employer’s rules or standards) to disqualify a claimant from benefits. Intentional violations of company rules or standards should usually be reported as misconduct. States generally deny or limit benefits to employees who are discharged for acts of misconduct; however, the burden of proof will always be on the employer.

Below are seven questions you may have to answer before a disqualification for misconduct is imposed.

  • Was the claimant aware of the consequences of his actions?
  • Were the claimant’s actions within his control?
  • Were the claimant’s actions deliberate or willful? (For example, absences attributable to bona fide illness are generally not regarded as misconduct.)
  • Was the employee warned prior to discharge?
  • Was the violation serious enough to warrant a discharge?
  • Did the discharge occur immediately subsequent to the final incident?
  • Were there any mitigating circumstances, and was the employee given the opportunity to explain them?

All of my questions have been dealt with in a very timely manner. I like having dedicated contacts. It allows me to form a working relationship with a couple of people, rather than calling a 1-800 number and being put in a queue for the next available representative.

- Chris R. Retail Industry

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