Unemployment Compensation Service Case Study

The Importance of Information

Proper documentation is the pivotal for success in unemployment claims management. Providing the complete details of a discharge, including information on policy violations and infractions, can mean the difference between a favorable or an unfavorable ruling on your behalf. Take a look at the following case...

The Claim 
After a large, multiple-location company in New York discharged an employee, the subject's personnel file was sent to the centralized HR department. Unfortunately, the unemployment claim arrived first. A company HR representative responded to the claim without the benefit of supporting documentation from the claimant's file - stating only that the reason for discharge was a policy violation. The employer received an unfavorable determination.

The Appeal 
The company appealed the decision, maintaining that the claimant was discharged because of a verbal altercation on the job and that the employer had a policy prohibiting such behavior. And while a copy of the company policy was included with the appeal letter, the letter itself did not contain information about previous counseling sessions with the claimant for similar incidents, nor did it indicate that the claimant had been given a final written warning four months prior to discharge. It also failed to mention that the employer had several witnesses to the final incident ... and that the verbal altercation included racial epithets directed at a customer.

The Hearing 
When the notice of a hearing arrived, the employer contacted ADP for assistance. ADP reviewed the issues, prepared the witnesses for testimony, and assembled the documentation as exhibits for the company's defense. An ADP representative attended the hearing with the employer. At the hearing, the full details of the case finally emerged: Two employees repeated statements the claimant made to them about the customer. Company witnesses also testified that the discharged employee had been counseled about his language and demeanor. And it was shown that the claimant knew the employer's policy regarding acceptable language. Records of the previous counseling sessions, the company policy statement, and a statement signed by the claimant acknowledging receipt of the policy handbook were all submitted as exhibits. Additionally, it was established that the employer had fully adhered to its policy of progressive disciplinary action before resorting to the termination. The claimant had no defense to the testimony and the documentation that was presented.

The Decision 
The Administrative Law Judge found in favor of the employer, concluding that the claimant had been involved in misconduct related to the job and that, at the time of this misconduct, he was aware that his employment was in jeopardy.

The Final Word
Always start with a good defense. Full documentation of events leading to a discharge, written proof of policy violations, and any available witness statements submitted when you first respond to a claim can save time and reduce the amount of work it takes to win a favorable decision.

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