Unemployment claim documentation

Unemployment Claim DocumentationDocumentation is critical to effectively presenting your unemployment case. Without good documentation, the claimant is almost always awarded benefits, your account is charged and your tax rate may increase.

6 key items to provide in counseling and written warning documentation

  1. Details surrounding the event—Witness statements, any admissions by the employee or any statements anyone who witnessed the admission. The more details the better.
  2. Reference to the policy violated—Confirms you have a comprehensive policy related to the action and makes it clear to the employee what policy they violated. Acknowledge any prior verbal or written warnings the employee has received for similar actions/behavior. This establishes a pattern on the employee’s part and reinforces your use of your company’s progressive disciplinary action plan.
  3. Action/Improvement Plan—If the employee is not being terminated for their actions/behavior at the time, establish an action or improvement plan. This shows the employee was informed of how to correct the problem and given an opportunity to resolve the issue.
  4. Consequences—Always make the employee aware of the consequences should they continue with the actions/behavior. Include the statement, “Any future occurrences of (action/behavior) will result in further disciplinary action up to and including termination.” This prevents the employee from saying they never realized their job was in jeopardy.
  5. Employee Signature—Prevents the claimant from denying they received counseling. You may advise the employee that by signing they are not agreeing with the write-up nor is their signature any kind of admission. They are only acknowledging they have seen the form and it was discussed with them.
  6. Witness Signature—Ideally, you should have a witness present anytime “formal counseling” is being given. Thus two people will be able to testify with first hand knowledge regarding the counseling session should unemployment hearing occur. If the employee refuses to sign, the witness can provide a second signature attesting to the counseling session.

Documenting a voluntary resignation

  1. It is best for company policy to require a two-week notice.
  2. If an employee gives verbal notice of quitting, always request they put it in writing. If they refuse to provide a written notice, have the person who received the verbal notice provide a signed and written statement detailing what the employee said.
  3. Written notices should be signed and dated, and note the employee’s intended last day of work.
  4. Find out exactly why an employee is quitting. Is if for another job? Personal reasons? Job dissatisfaction? Harassment? The more information you have, the more credible you are in the event of an unemployment hearing.

For voluntary resignations:

  • If an employee gives two weeks notice of intent to resign and you allow them to leave immediately, the employee will be eligible to collect unemployment benefits for at least the time frame of the notice offered; in some cases it will be viewed as a discharge. The only way to accept a resignation of this nature immediately without affecting the unemployment claim is to pay the claimant the scheduled (or expected) hours for the remainder of the notice period.
  • If the employee is given the option of voluntarily resigning or being discharged, it will be viewed as a discharge.

The Unemployment System was created during the 1930s to assist those who were unemployed through no fault of their own. It is generally not intended to compensate those who quit or are separated for cause. By protesting with substantiating documentation, you can have benefits denied and reduce your costs.

Unemployment can be complex, but it doesn’t need to be intimidating. TALX specializes in representing your interest to the Washington ESD, and any other state in which you may operate. As an endorsed provider, TALX can provide you with expert assistance in all unemployment matters including initial claim, hearing, charge audit, rate verification and more.

For more information on how TALX can help you control costs, contact Sarita Veach, 425-413-5842, your local representative in Washington. TALX is a Washington Restaurant Association endorsed provider.

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