Determine Whether The Unemployment Claim Has Merit
Your first step is to review the claim and determine whether it does or does not have merit. Just because the employee left on bad terms does not mean s/he is not entitled to unemployment benefits. Generally, a former employee is entitled to unemployment benefits unless: (i) Discharge was for misconduct; or (ii) Employee voluntarily quit. The common use of the term "quit" and "discharge for misconduct," however, may not be helpful, as the Louisiana statutes specifically describe these events.
Misconduct means "mismanagement of a position of employment by action or inaction, neglect that places in jeopardy the lives or property of others, dishonesty, wrongdoing, violation of a law, or violation of a policy or rule adopted to insure orderly work or the safety of others.
Voluntary termination requires leaving an employment post "without good cause attributable to a substantial change made to the employment by the employer."
Pay Attention to Deadlines!
When challenging an unemployment claim, the employer must act FAST. Typically a claim must be challenged in writing within 10 days from when the notice of claim was MAILED by the commission. After a determination on the claim is made, an employee must file an appeal within just 15 days from when the determination was mailed. When you receive notices from the Louisiana Workforce Commission, review them carefully and respond as immediately as possible
Document Your Position
Upon receipt of an unemployment claim, if the employee was discharged for misconduct or voluntarily quit, you will want to provide the Louisiana Workforce Commission with that information. Type a letter to the commission explaining your position. In addition to sending that correspondence, also send any available documentation to prove your case, including: (i) Typed statements from other employees, managers, supervisors, etc.; (ii) Videos or photographs of misconduct; (iii) Emails; etc. The more you provide, the more likely the commission will agree with your position.
Consider Hiring Counsel
The Louisiana Workforce Commission does its best to keep matters as informal as possible, such that employees and employers very frequently represent themselves on the claims. However, if a claim does escalate to a full-hearing on the commissions determination, it may be worthwhile to hire counsel to prepare your case and evidence, and to properly present it before the administrative law judge.
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