When an employer lets an employee go, the employee has a right to file for unemployment if he cannot find work, was dismissed through no fault of his own and meets the guidelines for eligibility in his state. Employers receive a notice of filing if the employee files a claim. They must respond to this notice as part of the claims investigation process. The thoroughness of the employer's response gives Department of Labor representatives a better idea of whether the employee is entitled to benefits.
Purpose and Benefits
The main purpose of having an employer file a response to an employee's unemployment filing is to further verify the accuracy of the employee's claim. Employer responses help the Department of Labor identify possible cases of system abuse. Responding gives the employee an opportunity to state his side of the unemployment story. It also reserves the employer's right to appeal the distribution of benefits later.
The time an employer has to respond to a notice of unemployment filing varies by state. However, generally, you must submit your response within 10 to 14 days. The DOL usually provides information about when to respond in the notice or on the state's DOL website. The DOL sets response time guidelines to ensure the employee may receive benefits promptly, if entitled.
How to Respond
To respond to an unemployment filing notice, fill out the response forms the DOL sends you and submit them to the appropriate DOL office; the DOL will provide instructions on which office to use based on the employee's Social Security number. Forms often are available on the DOL websites, as well. In some states, you may submit your response online.
In your response, detail the reasons why the employee no longer works for you. Include specifics such as a dates, locations where incidents may have happened and the names of witnesses. Also include any supporting documents that support your assertions, or quote from them. Examples might be a union contract or a medical report.
Because the way you respond to an unemployment notice of filing can set the stage for a future defense against paying benefits, it is important to seek legal counsel in preparing the response. Additionally, an employee may not respond well if the information you provide doesn't support the claim. This is not unusual, but you should prepare yourself for additional action the claimant may make, such as a wrongful termination suit or other litigation.