For those who become unemployed, the availability of unemployment compensation is an important safety net.
However, while unemployment compensation is available to most people who become unemployed, it is not available to everyone who becomes unemployed.
Whether a person is entitled to unemployment compensation depends upon the reason why the person’s employment has ended. Generally, employment ends for one of two reasons: the employer terminates the employee, or the employee voluntarily quits.
In cases where the employer has terminated the employee, the employee is generally entitled to unemployment compensation, unless the employee has been terminated because of intentional misconduct or gross carelessness in the performance of his job duties.
Because of the foregoing, an employee is usually entitled to unemployment compensation even if he has been terminated because of poor job performance. Poor job performance will typically result in unemployment compensation being denied only if the job performance rises to the level of intentional misconduct or gross carelessness.
Most terminations for carelessness do not rise to the level of gross carelessness. For example, if an employee is terminated for accidentally breaking equipment used at work, the employee is most likely still entitled to unemployment compensation since the carelessness involved in common accidents does not usually rise to the level of gross carelessness.
In cases where employment has ended as a result of the employee voluntarily quitting, issues related to willful misconduct and gross carelessness do not generally arise.
Rather, in cases involving an employee voluntarily quitting, the focus is on the reason why the employee quit. Only if the employee had a compelling reason to quit, will he be entitled to unemployment compensation.
Procedurally, unemployment-compensation claims can be filed online, or at a local job center. After the claim is filed, a job-center representative will make the initial decision regarding whether a person will receive unemployment compensation. If that decision is not to the liking of either the employer or employee, an appeal can be filed by either party. This appeal results in a formal hearing to be held before an unemployment-compensation referee.
It is important to keep in mind that the hearing before the referee is generally a party’s last chance to present evidence in support of their claim. Therefore, a person must be certain that he is fully prepared for this hearing and that he fully understands the unemployment-compensation laws that apply to the specific circumstances of the case.
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