VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

Defending unemployment benefits claims

Successful unemployment claims by employees can financially impact a company. The smallest procedural or factual mistakes in defending against paying benefits can result in increased unemployment taxes.

Defeating a claim is challenging, but not impossible.

If an employee habitually shows up late or is error-prone, the best approach is the direct approach. Maintaining open lines of communication over expectations while providing guidance to improve performance can possibly turn things around. More importantly for an employer, it can also build a strong unemployment benefits defense should the staff member continue to underperform and is subsequently terminated.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding their job loss, many employees in that scenario will still pursue claims. Before giving in and taking a financial hit, know that effective and successful defenses exist that include:

  • Just Cause – An employee’s action or failure that is detrimental to the employer’s interests is considered a justified termination that would deny them unemployment benefits. It places the onus of the firing on the employee who knowingly and willingly caused the loss of their job.
  • Notice of Cause – A common allegation by fired employees is not knowing why they were fired in the first place. Employers must be proactive in communicating their expectations of an employee’s required behavior and performance. Equally as important, they must clarify the consequences of wrong behavior. Following a consistent disciplinary procedure and documenting the employee’s awareness can increase the chances of a successful unemployment claims defense.
  • Procedural – Employees will accuse employers of not following established procedures that led to the termination. Employers who can show that they adhered to the disciplinary process that led to the firing can potentially put an end to an unemployment claim.
  • Training and Coaching – A formal training process with detailed documentation can protect an employer when an ex-staff member alleges a lack of training prevented them from doing their job correctly.
  • Qualified Supervisor – “My supervisor didn’t like me,” is a common argument at unemployment hearings. Putting an end to that accusation requires supervisors on staff who are competent in coaching and leadership. They also must receive not only initial training, but also continuing professional development on an annual basis.

Unemployment benefits claims involve a complex and high-stakes process. To speak with a lawyer, call VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP, at 606-618-0698.

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