A Washington Post article published on Feb. 12th highlights the increasing trend of employers contesting claims for unemployment benefits by their former employees. The article states that as more and more employers are shedding the number of employees, more claims are being challenged to avoid paying higher rates to state unemployment funds.
Otherwise eligible employees- those that were laid off without cause, are finding their claims challenged much more frequently than before. Employers often contest the eligibility of benefits on the grounds that the employee had quit. Other times, employers end up digging through employees personal records to find any point of contention that can lead to a disapproval of benefits.
Moreover, employers are often bring in third party companies to deal with unemployment insurance administration that tend to side with with employers trying to block claims from former employees. One such company, TALX, claims that it saved employers “over $6 billion in unemployment claims liability annually,” showing the desire of companies to trim operating costs wherever they may be, even at the expense of employees
. The article highlights the case of a man who had worked for Gaylord Hotels as an electrician who was ultimately fired. His claim for benefits was contested by his former employer, and as such, a hearing was scheduled. The company, upon learning a Washington Post reporter was going to attend, withdrew it contesting of the claim in an attempt to prevent potentially damaging public relations effects of such a move.