Employers Blocking the Unemployment Benefits of Workers

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When a person applies for unemployment benefits, they are never automatically granted. Instead, the state agency that gives out the benefits must check to make sure that the person is indeed legally eligible to receive benefits. Part of this check involves checking with the person's former employer to determine that he did indeed work for the employer and his reason for termination makes him eligible. If the employer disagrees, then the benefits are blocked.

Eligibility

  • Only certain kinds of people who lost their jobs are eligible to get compensatory benefits from the state. The exact criteria for who can receive benefits is not the same for each state. However, in most states, if a person if fired for gross misconduct, then he cannot receive benefits; a person who was terminated through structural layoffs, by contrast, can. A person applying for benefits will be asked why he lost his job.

Employer Notification

  • State agencies generally attempt to verify the reason a person provided for losing his job is accurate. Therefore, after a person files an application, their former employer will be notified that a former employee filed a claim, as well as the reason provided for termination. If an employer disagrees as to whether the reason for termination qualifies him for benefits, he can attempt to block the payment of the claim.

Appeal

  • If benefits are blocked, an employee can appeal this block. If this happens, the state will generally hold a hearing in which the employer and the employee provide their own accounts as to why the employee lost his job. Based on these accounts, the state agency will attempt to determine the real reason that a person was fired and then issue a determination about whether the person is in fact eligible for benefits.

Solutions

  • If a person loses his appeal, then he may wish to contact an employment lawyer. The lawyer will be able to provide legal advice as to how the person can continue to appeal the decision, as well as any action he can take against his former employer. If the employer acted illegally -- say, by lying about why it fired the employee -- then the employee may be entitled to sue for damages.

References

  • "Employment Law"; Benjamin W. Wolkinson, et al.; 1996
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