10 Steps for Successfully Fighting Unwarranted Unemployment Claims
An unwarranted claim can triple your unemployment rate and mean thousands of dollars in additional taxes annually. Should you contest all claims? It may not be cost effective to contest all claims, but it is worth fighting those claims where a former employee is not entitled to unemployment benefits, especially in those cases where the employee was separated for misconduct.
Your unemployment compensation tax is closely tied to your company’s claims history. You should timely protest any claim that you believe is not justified. Here are 10 steps for successfully fighting unwarranted unemployment claims.
1. Keep track of your claims. Know when claims against you were filed, which are open, and the number of claims you have won or lost. This will let you determine whether or not you can expect an increase in your taxes the following year.
2. Understand the eligibility requirements. If an employee is entitled to benefits under the law, it probably doesn’t make sense to fight the claim. But, not all employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits. While the grounds for disqualification are narrow, there are a number of reasons, such voluntarily resigning “without good cause”. Those claims where the employee is not eligible should be vigorously protested.
3. Become knowledgeable of the process. Know how a claim flows through the system from the initial filing of the claim, to the agency’s initial decision, to the unemployment hearing, subsequent appeal, and further action. Knowing the process will allow you to make appropriate decision at each stage in the process.
4. Meet all deadlines. The timelines for responding to agency communications is usually short (typically 7-14 days). If you fail to respond with the specified time period the agency will view your non-response as an acceptance of the claim and the employee will probably be eligible for benefits.
5. Assemble your documentation. Good documentation is essential in contesting any claim. Gather all documentation. Disciplinary notices, resignation letters, and any other evidence supporting the reason for termination will be vital in presenting your side of the case. Be sure to obtain written statements from witnesses with first hand knowledge of the case.
6. Provide evidence for those involuntarily terminated. Be prepared to provide proof of misconduct on the employee’s part. An employee that intentionally or deliberately disregarded company policies or standards may be denied benefits. Fighting, stealing, insubordination, failing a drug test and other similar acts are often legitimate grounds for a disqualification based on misconduct.
7. Provide evidence for those voluntarily terminated. Usually employees who resign voluntarily and without good cause are usually disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. “Good cause” is generally defined at a real, substantial and compelling reason that would lead a reasonable person to quit under like circumstances. An employers’ best defense to an employee’s claim that they had good cause is a signed resignation letter stating the specific reason for the resignation.
8. Attend all hearings. If you so not attend hearings and present your side of the case the claimant will generally win, and received benefits.
9. Appeal adverse decisions. Usually the decisions of an administrative law judge are final only if they are not appealed in a timely manner.
10. Consider litigation when circumstances warrant it. An adverse decision on an appealed decision is not necessary the last step. In many jurisdictions, an employer has the right to challenge decision in court. This should only be a last resort, used when the principles are fundamental and the benefits outweigh the costs.
ARE YOU PAYING FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S MISTAKES?
Each year (and in some jurisdictions, quarterly) the state agency responsible of administrating unemployment benefits will issue an employer a Statement of Charges which lists all former employees who have collected unemployment benefits that have been charged to your reserve account during the period. Our experience is that we find errors in approximately 20% of accounts that we audit. There are several reasons for these errors, which include:
1. The last decision was in favor of the employer.
2. The employer never received the unemployment claim for the former employee.
3. The employer did not receive a determination or ruling on a protest that was timely filed.
4. Clerical errors. Examples of these are claims charged to the wrong SUI account, the claimant was not your employee, or a wrong social security number was used.
You can protest the wrongful charges, but you must do so within the time limits established.
If you are tired of paying for someone else’s mistakes, call us at 310-533-1656. We regularly audit Charge Statements for our client’s. Saving even a $1 charge erroneous charge can lower your unemployment tax contribution rate. Don’t throw your money away; call us at 310-533-1656 today!
When choosing an unemployment cost management vendor one of the most important criteria is the “fit” with you, your staff. Beyond that, however, there are several quantifiable criteria that you can use in selecting a vendor.
1. Length of time in business. A 15-year track record is usually sufficient to establish the quality of the work done.
2. Tenure of personnel. The longer the tenure of the staff the better the odds that they are experienced in unemployment cost management.
3. Member of a professional network. Many state Chambers of Commerce have Human Resource Networks of that vet HR professionals for financial capability, professional references and client satisfaction.
4. Professional liability insurance. Does the company carry professional liability insurance against customer claims for errors or omissions in providing their service?
5. Membership in professional associations. Does the company maintain membership in professional and trade associations. Keeping informed about current events and trends are an important part of providing top quality service.
6. Scope of operations. Can the vendor support your operations in the venues where you conduct your business?
How Does Corporation Counseling Service Measure Up?
|Criteria||Corporation Counseling Service|
|Time in Business||We have over 50 years in business.|
|Tenure of Personnel||The tenure of our personnel averages 10 years.|
|Member of Professional Network||We are members of the California Chamber of Commerce Human Resource Network.|
|Professional Liability Insurance||We maintain a $1 Million professional liability policy.|
|Membership in Professional Associations||We are members of the Association of Unemployment Tax Organizations, the California Association of Health Care Facilities, and the California Chamber of Commerce.|
|Scope of Operations||We support clients nationwide, actively practicing in approximately 30 states.|