My Former Employee Filed for Unemployment, Now What?
Business owners are always working and often it is the little things that can be overlooked. This includes responding to the Nevada Department of Education Training and Rehabilitation, Employment Security Division Request for Employer Response when an employee files an unemployment claim
BackgroundYour former employee has filed for unemployment compensation. What can you do?
You have been paying your required unemployment taxes all along and know that the amount you pay is based on an experience rating. What if an employee is actually ineligible for unemployment benefits, but you do not respond to the request for response from the Employment Security Division? Well, your experience record may be negatively effected and you could be required to pay higher tax rates. Thus, making your business more expensive to operate and putting less money in your pocket. Ouch!
You, as the employer, are required to provide all relevant facts that may affect your former employee*s right to unemployment benefits. You must file your written response within 11 calendar days from the date DETR mailed you the Employer Notice of Claim Filed. In addition to submitting the written information to the Division, you can attend a predetermination hearing if there is a question concerning the former employee*s eligibility.
If you do not attend the predetermination hearing or submit the requested written information within the 11 calendar days, the Division will make its decision based only on the information available to it. The little secret there is that is only the information that your former employee submitted.
Reasons You Terminated the EmployeeIn Nevada, your former employee must be out of work through no fault of his or her own in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. The easiest way to break this down is into two categories, which are (1) Eligible for Benefits and (2) Ineligible for Benefits.
Eligible for BenefitsIf you ended the person*s employment for: Lack of work, Reduction in force, Downsizing, Replacement with a better performing employee, Closure of a location or unit, Lack of skills to perform job tasks, Generally poor performance of work tasks, or any other reason that is no fault of the employee, that employee is entitled to receive unemployment benefits.
Ineligible for BenefitsHere is the meat and potatoes of where you need to be concerned and where you need to respond to the Division. Why? If you didn*t read the paragraphs above: increased taxes and costs to your business. If you want to pay more the State for no reason though, ignore the letter from DETR. If you terminated the employee for: Misconduct relating to their job, Deliberate disregard of your instructions, rules or policies, Extreme carelessness (for example allowing product or cash to walk out the door while not paying attention and instead texting his girlfriend when he should be watching the cash register or minding the store), Any criminal activity or activity that could qualify as being criminal (think theft, battery, assault, sexual assault of a co-worker and other crimes), the former employee will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. If the activity was criminal, the former employee will be disqualified from obtaining benefits for a longer period of time.
What if my former employee quit?This is a question that I answer more than once per week. If the former employee quit their job, they will be ineligible for unemployment benefits unless they quit with *good cause.* Wait, what is *good cause*? To simplify and potentially oversimplify, good cause means the reason your former employee quit working for you was (1) related to the job they performed for you and (2) was so severe they had no other choice but to quit their job. An employee will also be eligible for benefits if they quit because of health concerns of their own or to provide care and support to a gravely ill family member.
What if my former employee lied about the amount of hours worked or wages paid to them? This is another reason you need to make sure to respond to the notice of claim from DETR. If the employee has exaggerated the total hours worked or amount paid, your tax rate could go up. More importantly, if you do not correct the lies told by the employee, you could be subject to an audit from the Division. This will cost you countless hours of time and effort that could be prevented by simply responding to the initial notice of claim.
Bottom LineDo not ignore the Employer Notice of Claim Filed. If you ignore this notice and fail to respond, your business could be subject to increased costs and taxes going forward. Respond on your own behalf or have an attorney respond but make sure to provide the requested information in order to protect your business and your pocketbook.