Ultimately, your employer cannot deny you unemployment benefits. Unemployment is a taxable-based, state program. However, employers can contest unemployment claims, which is why your claim may be denied.
Before you receive unemployment benefits, your state’s unemployment agency reviews your application to ensure you qualify for unemployment benefits. These qualifications can vary depending on your state. In general, to qualify for unemployment you’ll need to:
- Meet your state’s work requirements, meaning you worked enough hours at your last job.
- Be out of work at no fault of your own.
- Be able to work, and are actively seeking new work opportunities.
This article will review the reasons why you can be denied unemployment benefits, and how to appeal your unemployment claim.
Also Read: Unlawful Termination: Can You Sue Your Boss?
Reasons You Can Be Denied Unemployment
Your former employer can only contest or deny unemployment claims if they have grounds to do so. Additionally, they will also need their own evidence against your claim. Meaning, an employee would need to participate in blatant misconduct to disqualify for unemployment.
Generally, your former employer can deny you unemployment benefits and contest your claim if you:
- Voluntarily left your job on your own merits and was not a forced resignation.
- Intentionally violated company procedures and policies.
- Failed to follow reasonable instructions.
- Repeatedly failed to come in to work or were late.
- Participated in unacceptable conduct and behavior, such as stealing, fighting, and bullying.
Even if your former employer doesn’t have explicit policies stating what’s considered “acceptable” and “unacceptable” behavior, you should still go by common rules of thumb. For example, let’s say that despite showing up for work on time and completing all your tasks, you regularly work after excessively drinking. Your employer may not have an explicit policy about drinking on the job, but it’s generally understood you shouldn’t be intoxicated while you’re working.
Similarly, you may have been forced to quit your job with good cause. An example of this would be if you were injured while working and are now unable to perform the same tasks as before.
If you’re unsure about the circumstances of your termination, talk to a lawyer to see if you can still qualify for unemployment benefits.
Can An Employer Deny You Unemployment?
Technically, no, your former employer cannot deny you unemployment benefits. Whether or not you receive unemployment is up to your state. Your state’s unemployment agency reviews your application, but your employer can contest your claim.
Even with proper qualifications, an employer can still contest your claims, and may even contradict the claims. This affects your finances and can even hinder you from finding new work. The most common reasons why employers contest unemployment claim includes fears of:
- Unemployment insurance increasing. Employers pay into unemployment insurance, or EI. Similarly to other kinds of insurance, the more claims made, the more the rates will increase.
- Wrongful termination lawsuits. Your application may reveal some problematic evidence against your employer.
Since employers pay into unemployment benefits as a tax-funded program, they generally want to keep their claims to a minimum. It’s common for employers to dispute claims, even with proper evidence from their former employees. Thankfully, employees do have an opportunity to appeal denied claims and tell their side of the story.
Appealing An Unemployment Claim
You have the right to appeal denied claims if you qualify for unemployment. You can find an appeal form on your state labor department’s website, or one will be sent with your denial notice. There is a short timeframe for you to appeal the claim. The appeal time varies from state to state, but generally, you need to file an appeal within a month.
In your appeal, you have the opportunity to explain your side of the story. You can reiterate why you believe your claim should’ve been approved. The unemployment agency will then hold a hearing where a hearing officer will either grant or deny the claim.
If your unemployment claim is denied a second time, you can appeal it again. In most states, you’ll need to file your appeal with both the unemployment agency and your state’s court.
Getting Unemployment If You Were Fired
Whether you were fired, laid off, or quit voluntarily, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits. In essence, you only disqualify for unemployment if you left your job from your own poor actions. This section will explain what qualifications you need to apply for unemployment, regardless of how you were terminated.
Fired employees receiving unemployment
There’s a number of reasons why you can be fired that don’t include being a poor worker. You could be fired because of cutbacks, or maybe you just weren’t a good fit for the job. Being fired isn’t always because of poor behavior or misconduct. Some common reasons workers are fired that still qualify them for unemployment include:
- Lack of skills.
- Errors in judgement, but in good faith.
- Clashing personalities and creative differences.
- Unintentional minor infractions.
- Out-of-work controversies.
As long as your firing wasn’t out of intentional or harmful misconduct, you can generally still apply for unemployment benefits.
Laid off employees receiving unemployment
Generally, anyone laid off automatically qualifies for unemployment benefits. If you’re still having issues with filing for unemployment, speak to a lawyer to understand all your legal options.
Resigned employees receiving unemployment
Quitting your job isn’t always an easy decision. Sometimes, you need to quit your job not because you’re dissatisfied, but because your job has become dangerous and harmful. If you quit your job with a “good cause,” you can still apply for unemployment benefits. There can be a number of reasons why you’re forced to resign from your job, such as harassment, discrimination, or an injury.
Getting Help With Your Unemployment
If you need help receiving unemployment benefits, or want to take legal action against a former employer and their blatant misconduct, call a lawyer. My Case Helper works with qualified employment lawyers across the country, and we can connect you to a lawyer in one call. To speak to a lawyer today, call the number listed at the top of the page.