Because, for most employers, unemployment taxes are a high cost item – often reaching tens or hundreds of thousands, and in some cases, millions of dollars, it is critical to protest improper claims – and win! However, winning UI protests is not as easy at it sounds – the average employer wins about 50 percent of the protests they file. Why so low, you might ask – because most employers don’t try to win the case until the claim is filed. In reality, the process should begin long before the separation – it should begin the moment an employee is hired.
Most of the documentation/evidence needed to win a UI protest occurs throughout an employee’s tenure with the employer (written disciplinary warnings, performance evaluations, attendance records, etc.). These critical pieces of evidence are the lifeblood of any UI cost management program and allow the average employer to win a much higher percentage of their UI protests.
Key Documents/Evidence includes:
- An employee handbook that is up to date with policies that follow employment and unemployment laws. Almost as important as having an employee handbook is applying it consistently – if you are not following your own policies and enforcing them, then you are not likely to win your UI protests – and you might just end up getting sued.
- Proper documentation of employee disciplinary/corrective action. Ensure that these activities are properly documented so you have the proper evidence to defend your employment decisions in a hearing.
- Don’t forget to be honest in your performance evaluations. It can be difficult to defend a termination of an employee for their behavior if all of their evaluations say they meet or exceed expectations (85 percent of all employee evaluations score that employee as meets or exceeds – even when they don’t).
- Be certain to get employees to sign handbooks and policies, evaluations, disciplinary/corrective action documents, etc. Without their signature (or the signature of a witness when the employee refuses), it is your word against theirs – and often you will lose.
These are just a few of the many ways to improve your winning percentage. Take the time to work them into your daily activities and you will see a significant increase in winning protests.