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Contesting Unemployment Benefits Claims for Contractors Part 3

In parts one and two of this three-part series, an Orlando construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law explained why many employers attempt to contest unemployment benefits claims. We started by examining the root of the issue, then we discussed the danger of presumption when awarding claims. Afterwards, we discussed why some claims shouldn’t be contested and warned contractors about retaliatory actions some ex-employees may take upon being terminated; even if their termination was wholly justified.

Now, our Orlando construction lawyers will continue to discuss this topic, focusing on disqualification from unemployment benefits, contesting a claim, and appealing an award of benefits. Remember, for all of your construction-related employment law needs, consult the experienced team at Cotney Construction Law. 

Disqualification From Unemployment Benefits

Did you know that an employee you fired may still be eligible to claim unemployment benefits? Even if a worker was terminated because they couldn’t keep up with their work duties or displayed poor work habits, they might be able to collect benefits. The same holds true for terminations stemming from minor rule infractions, such as failing to meet attendance requirements. Many employers discover that, barring egregious acts of misconduct that include excessive absenteeism, ex-employees often still qualify for benefits. 

Proving misconduct is the key to contesting unemployment claims, but the definition is somewhat limited, and you might need to be able to prove that the misconduct was willful and intended to harm your business. Employees terminated for engaging in workplace violence or sexual harassment typically forfeit their right to collect unemployment. On the other hand, an employee knowingly gives up their eligibility if they quit a job on their own accord.

Contesting a Claim

An Orlando construction lawyer can help you determine whether or not you should contest an unemployment claim. By examining the details of the employee’s termination, a lawyer can determine whether or not your contest has a chance of succeeding. You’ll need to give them all of the information you can, including:

  • Clear narrative of the termination
  • List of violated rules and policies
  • Documented oral and written warnings
  • Any other compelling evidence that supports your contest

Although state unemployment offices tend to side with the employee, your lawyer can help you formulate a strong case to support your contest.

Appealing an Award of Benefits

In some cases, benefits may be awarded to an ex-employee who was fired on the basis of misconduct. When this happens, your options and time are limited. You can still appeal the award of benefits with ten days, but you’ll have to prove that the ex-employee’s misconduct was sufficient to overturn their eligibility for benefits. Retain all of the documents you referenced in your original contest and act quickly to show that you stand by your contest. If the state unemployment sides with you, you won’t be responsible for their benefits.

If you would like to speak with one of our Orlando construction lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.