The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) offers these tips to employers for handling unemployment insurance claims filed by ex-employees.
Before a claim arises:
- For employees about to be fired, go through a termination checklist; at the very least, ensure you've given them the benefit of whatever termination procedures are outlined in your office policies, including warnings.
- Do not have employees who are quitting sign a boilerplate resignation form; have them write their own letter, in their own handwriting if possible.
- Do not let an employee quit until you are satisfied your practice has done everything appropriate to address any legitimate grievances that person may have.
After a claim arises:
- Respond on time to any claim notice, ruling, or appeal decision. You have 14 calendar days in which to file a written response to a claim notice and make your practice a "party of interest" with appeal rights.
- Be as specific as possible.
- Be consistent in your responses, appeals, and testimony.
- Avoid name-calling or gratuitous derogatory comments about your former employee.
- In firing cases, avoid certain terminology such as "inability," "incompetence," "disloyal," "accumulation of things," "bad attitude," and "mutual agreement."
- Instead, try to show four main things:
- That a specific incident of misconduct occurred close in time to the discharge;
- That the person either knew or should have known that firing could occur for the reason given;
- That you, as employer, followed your office policies and whatever warnings you gave; and
- That the person was not singled out for discharge but treated the same as anyone else would have been under those circumstances.
- When an employee leaves voluntarily, don't try to show how bad the ex-employee might have been and concentrate on the fact that the person left while continued work was still available.
- Avoid comments on how glad the practice is that the person resigned. Instead, focus on how a reasonable employee otherwise interested in remaining employed would not have left for the reason given.
- In all cases, have all your evidence and firsthand witnesses ready for the hearing.
- Make your testimony brief, factual, and concise. Hearing officers like that!
You can respond to unemployment insurance claims online, or you can file claim responses by mail, fax, hand delivery, or telephone. For more information, go to the Businesses and Employers section of the TWC Web site .
The best way to avoid the hassle and expense of employee turnover is to hire carefully, establish a positive working environment, and take proactive steps to counter difficult employee-related situations. If you need help with staff recruitment, contact TMA Practice Consulting. A TMA consultant can determine the clinical and business staff appropriate for your practice and recruit qualified candidates to meet your needs.
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