Why is “poor performance” not disqualifying from unemployment benefits?
in the unemployment business as long as we have, this is one of those questions we
hear over and over again from employers. And
it’s a great question – it is most likely hard to understand without some explanation.
deciding whether or not to pay benefits, most states try to determine if an individual’s
termination for failure to perform falls into one of two categories: Was
it that the employee just plain couldn’t do the job, or that they just plain wouldn’t do
the job that’s asked of them. These are
two very different things and have different implications for unemployment benefit
being able to do a job cannot generally
be considered misconduct – which is broadly defined as willful and intentional disregard
for the employer’s best interests. It’s
either a bad hire by the employer or the expectations of the job may have changed
substantially such that someone who was previously able to do their job can no longer
perform. This may be due to any
number of things, like the introduction of new technology, new processes, or even
new – and higher – production standards. In
any case, if the unemployment office determines this is the case, there will almost
always be no disqualification since the non-performance is not willful or intentional
and can therefore not be considered misconduct.
being WILLING to do a job, however, can be another situation entirely. It
may – in many cases – be considered misconduct. You
should know, however, it is also quite a bit harder to prove. The
employer must demonstrate that the employee has met the same expectations in the past
but has at some point willfully and intentionally decided to stop meeting expectations. This
may be illustrated in some cases by a series of positive performance evaluations followed
by a series of negative ones. And, as
in any misconduct situation, the case is always strongest when accompanied by multiple
with any unemployment situation, each issue can be viewed quite differently from state-to-state. Before
modifying your company policies, documentation, or procedures, it is always a good
idea to either read up on that state’s unemployment laws and regulations, or seek
the assistance of a qualified expert in Unemployment Insurance.
Manager, Unemployment/Reemployment Services
This weblog is sponsored by TALX.
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