Control Unemployment Costs

Control Unemployment Costs

Unemployment: Win Your Claims Before They’re Even Filed!

In today’s economic environment, it’s important that you take advantage of potential savings for any possible aspect of your business. Unemployment is one of the only business taxes that can be controlled and minimized, because state unemployment laws dictate that individuals leaving their job, voluntarily without good cause, as well as those who are discharged due to misconduct, should not collect unemployment benefits.

It’s All in the Details

While unemployment costs can be controlled, it’s extremely important that you are in a position to provide all the necessary details and documentation up-front, in case an unemployment claim is filed. The former employee’s recollection of what happened and what actually happened can be very different. It’s up to you to have every important detail of their employment and their termination well-documented, allowing the state to make a proper judgment.

When Documenting the Facts of a Discharge:

  • Include a description of the final incident prior to the employee’s discharge.
  • Describe all rule violations and any warnings the employee received.
  • Outline prior disciplinary actions taken against the employee.
  • Provide company policy or rule regarding the reason for discharge.
  • Include signed documents indicating the employee understood the policy they violated.
  • List witnesses of any incidents you document.

When Documenting the Facts of a Voluntary Quit:

  • Describe what was said in the exit interview.
  • Indicate the method of resignation—written or verbal— and be descriptive.
  • Include the reason given for resignation.
  • Detail any changes in the employee’s job that may have occurred.
  • Document any dissatisfaction the employee has expressed.
  • Include any employee requests for transfer or leave of absence.
  • Describe steps taken to address the employee’s dissatisfaction.

All of the above details should be documented for each departing employee, so when a claim is filed, the state can render an informed decision. If the decision is unfavorable, and benefits are ultimately paid, it’s important to remember you have the right to an appeal, which will grant you the opportunity to present the details and documentation at an unemployment hearing.

The Importance of Company Policy

A key organizational component for improving success with unemployment claims is to have a consistent and well thought-out company policy or employee handbook. Most discharges occur when an employee fails to meet an expectation or when they violate an employer’s rule. Without company policy or an employee handbook, rules are subject to interpretation and inconsistent enforcement by individual managers and supervisors. And if the employee claims he or she was unaware of the rule or policy violated, it’s a “word against word” situation.

To effectively use a rule or policy in responding to an unemployment claim, the policy or rule must be in writing, and you must show that it is reasonable, consistently enforced and that the employee was—without question— made aware that violation of the policy or rule could lead to their termination.

Make sure all rules that are important to your business—such as appropriate behavior, acceptable attendance, etc.—are addressed in detail in your handbook or company policy. Always ensure all employees have an opportunity to review your policies and sign a document stating they have read and understand them. This signed acknowledgement can then be submitted to the unemployment office as proof the employee was aware of a specific policy and what could happen if they violate it.

With effective policies or rules and detailed documentation of each employee’s performance, you can experience improved success with your unemployment claims and maximize savings for your business.

TALX Corporation is an endorsed partner of the Washington Hospitality Association. For more information, contact Sarita Veach, client relationship manager, 425-413-5842 or at

Rev. 12/13/14


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washington Hospitality Association here.

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Categories: HERO