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Can they deny unemployment?

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Can they deny unemployment?

Old 03-17-08, 02:58 PM
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Can they deny unemployment?

To those that may not be aware, last year I was offered a great job on Long Island. The downside was that I was commuting there every week via JetBlue. The commute was a bitch, the job was OK, the money was great. Long story short, with real estate being in the toilet it was no surprise that my job in title insurance was reevaluated and I was laid off or let go however you want to put it. I just wasn't worth the huge overhead during such poor times in real estate. I understand that part.

For the last couple weeks I'm collecting unemployment just fine. I never get last weeks check. I called and was told that my ex-employer is disputing my claim. WTF! They laid me off and they're disputing my claim? I know if I quit or do something illegal I can be denied but why the hell would they want to screw me like this? They paid all my unpaid personal time and expenses no questions asked. It's not like I downloaded porn on company time or was accused of misconduct. Any ideas?
Old 03-17-08, 03:05 PM
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I think that a lot of places appeal every claim in the hope that the former employee will just give up. It happened to my brother a couple of years ago and he had to go to a couple of hearings to get his benefits reinstated (he retroactively got what he missed too).

This is in Massachusetts though which, although it is an employment at will state, tends to favor employees over management. A few years ago, my boss at the time (manager of a Cumberland Farms convenience store) got caught in a tobacco sting and was fired. The company tried to deny him unemployment but the state let him collect.
Old 03-17-08, 03:10 PM
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They can absolutley deny unemployment. Usually though, it stems from the employee being let go (fired) for various reasons.
Old 03-17-08, 03:29 PM
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The only thing I can think of is that I did receive a severance of a couple weeks. But I know people that got 6 mos or a year severance and they still collected. With my experience in management, the only time I've seen them denied is if the person quit without prospects of another job or if they did something really really bad.
Old 03-17-08, 03:35 PM
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A severance package isn't considered salary like that. When I got laid off I was given six months severance and was still able to collect unemployment from the first day.
Old 03-17-08, 03:50 PM
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Same here. When Fleet merged with Bank of America my department (processing) was being moved to another state. I wasn't going to move with them so I left with 17 weeks severance. I still was able to receive unemployment from day one, and they had unemployment counselors come in and specifically told us the same thing.
Old 03-17-08, 10:12 PM
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They all do it, because like someone said, they just try because people can be lazy. Sometimes they get off without having to pay because people don't fight it.
Old 03-17-08, 10:30 PM
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When a former employee collects unemployment insurance, it increases the company's unemployment insurance tax rate.
Old 03-17-08, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlie Goose
A severance package isn't considered salary like that. When I got laid off I was given six months severance and was still able to collect unemployment from the first day.
I recently made the mistake of assuming otherwise and lost out on a few weeks of some good government handouts.
Old 03-17-08, 10:55 PM
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It can be denied, but usually only if you were negligent in some way on the job.
Old 03-17-08, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by NORML54601
It can be denied, but usually only if you were negligent in some way on the job.
At this point I'm assuming they have no legitimate complaint however in the meantime I have no income
Old 03-17-08, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by matta
When a former employee collects unemployment insurance, it increases the company's unemployment insurance tax rate.
Who actually pays? I know they sent paperwork to the job that laid me off, my previous job, and the karate school where I did some teaching. I only made about $1300 last year at the school which works out to about 2.5 hours per week. Do all 3 have to pay? Equal shares? It doesn't seem fair the guy with the part time employee pays the same as full timers.
Old 03-17-08, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by foggy
I think that a lot of places appeal every claim in the hope that the former employee will just give up. It happened to my brother a couple of years ago and he had to go to a couple of hearings to get his benefits reinstated (he retroactively got what he missed too).

This is in Massachusetts though which, although it is an employment at will state, tends to favor employees over management. A few years ago, my boss at the time (manager of a Cumberland Farms convenience store) got caught in a tobacco sting and was fired. The company tried to deny him unemployment but the state let him collect.
Old 03-17-08, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JimRochester
Who actually pays? I know they sent paperwork to the job that laid me off, my previous job, and the karate school where I did some teaching. I only made about $1300 last year at the school which works out to about 2.5 hours per week. Do all 3 have to pay? Equal shares? It doesn't seem fair the guy with the part time employee pays the same as full timers.
I'm not sure how they'll hit those companies, and it varies from state to state. How it works in my state is that everytime I pay my employees, I pay a percentage of their salary to the state unemployment insurance fund (around 1.8%). If one of my employees files for unemployment insurance, that employee is paid out of the state fund (that every company pays into), but my rate for the next few years increases to around 3%.

So I'm not paying my former employee's unemployment insurance, it comes out of an insurance fund. But I have to pay a higher future premium because of it (think of car insurance - if you get into an accident, your insurance company pays, not you, but in the future your premium increases).
Old 03-17-08, 11:46 PM
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To address the original question:

You'll want to also verify the official reason you were released. If a company knows it wants to fire you, it will start to monitor you very closely to come up with a reason they can blame on you: 5 minutes late to work 3 days in a row, 10 minutes on the internet searching personal sites in a week, personal phone calls during business hours, etc. They look to make it your fault (even if they tell you differently) specifically for reasons like this.
Old 03-17-08, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by foggy
I think that a lot of places appeal every claim in the hope that the former employee will just give up. It happened to my brother a couple of years ago and he had to go to a couple of hearings to get his benefits reinstated (he retroactively got what he missed too).

This is in Massachusetts though which, although it is an employment at will state, tends to favor employees over management. A few years ago, my boss at the time (manager of a Cumberland Farms convenience store) got caught in a tobacco sting and was fired. The company tried to deny him unemployment but the state let him collect.
Why on earth would the state allow your boss to collect unemployment? Failing a compliance check (tobacco sting or alcohol sting) is gross misconduct on the employee's part and the company has every right to fire him/her without worrying about unemployment.
Old 03-18-08, 06:05 AM
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This is a little off topic.
Is it better to accept a BUYOUT or get laid-off?
If you accept the BUYOUT then you can't get unemployment, right?
Old 03-18-08, 06:42 AM
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The last company I worked for contested EVERY claim of unemployment as a rule. Regardless of the real reasons behind termination.
Old 03-18-08, 08:48 AM
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I think a lot of companies contest every claim because they have nothing to lose. As far as I know there is no penalty for them and they probably come out ahead fairly often when people just give up rather than fight.

It is funny to hear other stories of convenience stores, they are the worst. My mom was laid off and the company contested her unemployment saying she was let go due to excessive shrinkage in her stores. They probably should have done their homework though since she routinely made her shrinkage level bonus. They lost, but it was the first time they ever did.
Old 03-18-08, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by whoopdido
Why on earth would the state allow your boss to collect unemployment? Failing a compliance check (tobacco sting or alcohol sting) is gross misconduct on the employee's part and the company has every right to fire him/her without worrying about unemployment.
The company has a policy of firing someone the first time something like this happens which the state does not agree with. He knew at the time that they fired him what the likely outcome would be from previous experience with the company so he was actually pretty happy since he had been planning on quitting his job to go back to school. Instead of having no income, he ended up collecting unemployment for a year because there were extensions available.
Old 03-18-08, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by matta
I'm not sure how they'll hit those companies, and it varies from state to state. How it works in my state is that everytime I pay my employees, I pay a percentage of their salary to the state unemployment insurance fund (around 1.8%). If one of my employees files for unemployment insurance, that employee is paid out of the state fund (that every company pays into), but my rate for the next few years increases to around 3%.

So I'm not paying my former employee's unemployment insurance, it comes out of an insurance fund. But I have to pay a higher future premium because of it (think of car insurance - if you get into an accident, your insurance company pays, not you, but in the future your premium increases).
The owner of the karate school is griping too. I guess his rates will go up as well then. What can I do man? I can't give up $400 week so your rates stay the same.
Old 03-18-08, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JimRochester
The owner of the karate school is griping too. I guess his rates will go up as well then. What can I do man? I can't give up $400 week so your rates stay the same.
Hmmm, I'm wondering how that works for someone who works a part-time job (karate school) while also working a full-time job. What were the circumstances of you leaving the karate school? Is it possible that any one of the 3 could dispute the claim and cause it to be withheld unless/until you contest it? If I were the karate school owner, I'd just offer you your job back, if you turn it down I would think he gets out of paying unemployment (and maybe all 3 do?). And yes, I understand that it was a part-time job, sounds like something you did more for fun than anything else, but if he is trying to get out of paying (and it doesn't really sound like he should be paying, I think you'd agree with that), I think there are ways.
Old 03-18-08, 03:16 PM
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My current company used to contest unemployment for everyone who was let go. I was told the company did this because they were trying to set-up a new Worker's Comp plan, and having multiple former employees collecting unemployment drives up premiums.
Old 03-18-08, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by matta
To address the original question:

You'll want to also verify the official reason you were released. If a company knows it wants to fire you, it will start to monitor you very closely to come up with a reason they can blame on you: 5 minutes late to work 3 days in a row, 10 minutes on the internet searching personal sites in a week, personal phone calls during business hours, etc. They look to make it your fault (even if they tell you differently) specifically for reasons like this.
That's not good enough, at least here in CA. In order to deny a claim, the fired/laid-off employee either must have committed gross negligence (come to work intoxicated, violent) or fraud (theft). Tardiness or using company time for personal business isn't enough.
Old 03-18-08, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Jack Straw
That's not good enough, at least here in CA. In order to deny a claim, the fired/laid-off employee either must have committed gross negligence (come to work intoxicated, violent) or fraud (theft). Tardiness or using company time for personal business isn't enough.
In the state of incorporation of my company, blatant violation of a company policy is grounds for denial of insurance. While I don't do it, I could easily have an employee handbook with a statement that arriving to work late three out of any 10 days is grounds for termination.

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