If you lose your job, you can file for unemployment benefits through your local Department of Labor. Not everyone who files will receive benefits. If your employer believes he has good reason to fire you, he can contest your benefits. This means the company does not agree to pay your unemployment claim. You may still be able to obtain benefits after your employer has contested the claim. You will just need to prove you did nothing to warrant firing.
Proof of severe misconduct is one reason an employer might contest your unemployment claim. Severe misconduct includes any action that might cost the company money, or conduct and behaviors that could injure the company's reputation or products. Some examples might include giving away trade secrets, on-the-job intoxication, stealing, harassment and excessive unexcused absences. The majority of these instances are documented in your employee file with the human resources department and require disciplinary procedures such as layoff notices.
The cost of unemployment insurance is influenced by the number of unemployment claims the company has from prior employees. For every individual who files a claim, the cost of insurance can increase. If a company is concerned about the rising costs of insurance, it may try to bully you by contesting your claim. The important thing to remember is, if you know you did nothing wrong, you should appeal the decision. If you can prove you can make your case, you may be able to receive benefits.
Unemployment claims can often be a good tool in discovering wrongful termination. Many employees will not continue to pursue an unemployment claim once an employer contests the claim. Don’t back down from appealing the claim. The state and not the employer decide upon unemployment. If you appeal the company’s action to contest, someone from the labor department will listen to both sides of the story before making a decision. Firing someone wrongfully can result in severe legal issues, including a wrongful-termination lawsuit.
If you leave the job voluntarily for any reason, you will probably be ineligible for unemployment benefits. Not showing up and walking out on a regular workday will also disqualify you. It doesn't matter if your boss has cut your hours or if you feel you were treated unfairly, you can’t voluntarily walk away from the job and still expect to receive benefits. This is also true if you give sufficient notice to your employer that you will be leaving.
Based in Atlanta, Melody Dawn has been writing business articles and blogs since 2004. Her work has appeared in the "Gainesville Times," "Player's Press" and "USA Today." She is also skilled in writing product descriptions and marketing materials. Dawn holds a Master of Business from Brenau University.