How to Win an Unemployment Insurance Hearing

Reluctant to fire a problem employee because you are concerned he or she will file for unemployment insurance compensation and cause your unemployment tax rate to rise? 

You can contest unemployment insurance claims - and you can win, says the Texas Medical Group Management Association.

A key to winning an unemployment claim is being able to demonstrate that you:

  • Used a progressive discipline process;
  • Gave the employee specific instruction on the desired behavioral changes (except in the most egregious cicrumstances), based on your practice's written employee policies and procedures; and
  • Allowed sufficient time for the employee to make an improvement.

Make sure the employee, either by previous experience as shown in a résumé or through your training, should be able to do the job. Thereafter, unacceptable performance will point to unwillingness on the part of the employee, not on ability. Be sure to document all your discussions with the employee.

At the unemployment hearing, stick to the facts: specific problems such as complaints of rudeness from patients or excessive number of absences, your written policies, and your attempts to modify the employee's performance. Avoid using subjective terms such as "bad attitude" to describe his or her behavior.

Here are more resources for you:

  • Information and guidance about the appeals process is on the Texas Workforce Commission Web site.
  • The best way to avoid unemployment claims is to do a good job of hiring in the first place. TMA Practice Consulting can help practices of all sizes with management and staff recruitment.

 

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