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March 2015 Archives

Employee Handbooks:  Ensure Uniform Application

Your employee handbook is an important document in protecting your business.  But even more important is the uniform application of the policies and procedures contained in it.   This is especially important if you are a small employer and employ family and non-family members.  You need to be careful about how the personnel handbook is drafted so you can comfortably enforce those policies and procedures against both family and non-family employees.  The key is to ensure that you, as the employer, retain a large amount of discretion in the enforcement and application of those policies.  However, keep in mind that appearance is everything in maintaining an efficient workplace and in raising employee morale.  Avoid the appearance of favoritism in the handbook and in its enforcement.

To Oppose or Not to Oppose: Unemployment Compensation Applications

To Oppose or Not to Oppose: Unemployment Compensation applications.An employee is eligible to file a petition for unemployment compensation after the employment has been terminated. To remain eligible for unemployment benefits, the employee must show that he or she is ready, willing and able to work and continues to look for work during the compensation period. As an employer, you have the opportunity to oppose the employee’s application for UC benefits by asserting: (a) that the employee was terminated for willful misconduct, defined as a willful and habitual violation of company policy; or (b) that the employee voluntarily quit. However, before you exercise this right, as an employer, you should consider the following practical issues:
  1. As a business and practical decision, does it make sense to upset this employee further by opposing the UC application that will most likely result in a denial of benefits?
  2. Do you want to spend the time appearing at a UC appeal hearing to oppose those benefits in person?
  3. What is to be gained from a denial of the employees UC benefits when balanced against the potential cost of pushing this employee to file a claim (baseless or not) against your company.
It is worth doing a cost/benefit analysis before instructing your office manager or HR department to oppose benefits as a matter of policy.

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