UI Forum (ADP Unemployment Group)
Second Quarter 2015
What Makes For an Effective Written Statement?
When investigating employees for a possible violation of company policy, it’s important to obtain detailed written statements from all involved parties and witnesses. In the event an employee is discharged, your company will be able to provide ADP Unemployment Group (ADP) with first-hand documentation for protesting the unemployment claim.
For example, your company’s HR Representative receives information that a supervisor is harassing his subordinates. The witness states, “George has told me that I look very pretty in my green shirt." In this situation, the HR Representative should ask the witness to include more detailed information in her written statement, such as: When did George state this? How often did he state this? Did the employee ever tell George that she was offended by his comment? If so, how did George react? Did he continue to make the same comment or similar ones? Was management informed at the time and if so, what actions were taken?
By asking the employee to include detailed information in her written statement, the HR Representative now has more solid documentation on file for this investigation in the event of an unemployment claim.
Elements of a Good Written Statement:
The Violation: A detailed synopsis of the event that occurred including all facts, dates/times, frequency, and witnesses’ first and last names.
Witness Statements: When available, request detailed written statements from several witnesses so that more than one person can testify with firsthand knowledge should an unemployment hearing arise.
Tip: A good written statement does not have opinion or judgment words. Instead, it focuses on words which indicate violation of rules and avoids general statements and hearsay.
Here’s what we recommend you provide ADP as a best practice:
- All written statements, created as soon as possible during the investigation or after the event
- Written authorization to send all or only certain statements to the state unemployment agency
- If applicable, a written request that ADP review, select and submit only those statements specifically pertaining to the separation
- A written statement as to whether or not ADP may submit the statements for an unemployment response considering they may become public record or the situation may involve possible litigation or an EEOC claim.
Please review all statements for clarity prior to sending, retain documentation for at least 18 months and have it readily available for a possible unemployment claim.
Remember: the writer of the statements knows what happened, but the state unemployment agency does not, so be as specific as possible.
Alabama: The Alabama Department of Labor (ALDOL) will be issuing their quarterly Unemployment Benefit Payment Audit (form 8605A) for Q1-2015 starting in April. These wage audits are used to identify benefit overpayments and fraud and the forms carry a 15-day deadline. Although wage audits can be completed and mailed back to the ALDOL, the agency has been promoting online response via their eGov site (www.labor.alabama.gov/egov). However, since ADP already responds to wage audits on your behalf, you need not register on eGov to submit the audits. The audits are time sensitive so any requests for wage data verification that you receive from your ADP representative should be answered right away. Further, ALDOL has the authority to assess consequences, which may include monetary penalties between $20-$200 and/or imprisonment up to 30 days, for failure to comply in responding to the forms.
North Dakota: North Dakota has enacted HB 1212, effective August 1, 2015. This legislation adds “stalking” to the list of statutory reasons for UI benefits where good cause exists to voluntarily quit employment. For the purposes of UI benefits, “stalking” must be documented in the same manner as domestic violence in order to qualify as a good cause reason to leave employment and qualify for benefits. This means a claimant must provide the Department with a law enforcement record related to the incident, or provide an affidavit from a licensed counselor, licensed social worker, a director of a domestic violence center, advocacy, or a licensed attorney. Tax rated employers will be relieved of charges provided they are not at fault for causing or permitting the stalking. The full text of the legislation can be found at: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/64-2015/documents/15-0605-03000.pdf?20150316173021
Missouri: The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (MODOL) has distributed a communication warning of an email phishing scam. The detected phishing scam is focused on claimants, but these scams could be directed at employers as well. The MODOL communication states:
“The suspected emails were sent from “Unemployment Advisory Department” (firstname.lastname@example.org) and used one of two subject lines: “Required Documents to File Unemployment in MO” or “Verfication (sic) Required: Final Notice”. Email scams will often include misspellings or other common mistakes.
If you received this email, delete it immediately and do not click on the links as the website is requesting personal identifiable information that could be used in an act of fraud or theft. The Missouri Department of Labor will never request personal information through email.”
The full text of the announcement can be found at: http://labor.mo.gov/news/press-releases/department-labor-warns-email-phishing-attempt
Wyoming: Wyoming has enacted HB 139, effective July 1, 2015. This legislation extends the timeline for appeals to monetary, non-monetary, and benefits charge determinations from 15 days to 28 days after the notice is mailed to the address of record. The sections of the Wyoming’s Statutes that were amended are W.S. 27-3-402, 27-3-404, and 27-3-506. The full text of the legislation can be found at this link: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2015/Enroll/HB0139.pdf
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