Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Ask an Employment Lawyer for Legal Advice
In most states, employers are required to pay something called unemployment insurance taxes. This insurance exists to help workers who find themselves without a job continue to pay their basic living expenses during the amount of time it takes them to find a new job. When an employee separates from their company, they can file online to begin receiving unemployment benefits. However, not every employee is eligible to receive unemployment benefits, and not every company is required to offer this option. Before taking legal action, check your state’s guidelines regarding exempt/non-exempt businesses and employees. For example, in some states, religious-affiliated organizations might not be legally required to purchase unemployment insurance.
It should be noted that employers have a legal obligation to extend benefits coverage upon termination of an employee, and must provide reasonable notice and have just cause for an employee’s termination. If an employer fails to do either of these things, they could be subject to legal recourse in which they could be required to pay damages including the benefits and wages they would have received if they had been given adequate notice.
Which Businesses Are Exempt?
After losing a job, many people file for unemployment benefits only to find that their previous employer was considered exempt and was not required to pay unemployment insurance taxes, which means the employee may not be able to receive unemployment benefits. However, these exemptions vary from state to state, so make sure to look up your state's unemployment laws and contact a labor attorney if you have any questions. In many places, religious-affiliated organizations could be exempt from paying unemployment taxes, particularly if they are housed in a religious building, like a church. Some examples of businesses that can be exempt from offering unemployment benefits include:
- Government employers
- Nonprofit religious organizations
- Religious-affiliated businesses
- Charitable organizations
- Educational institutions
What Can You Do if You Have Been Unfairly Denied Unemployment Benefits?
If you suspect that you are being unjustly denied unemployment benefits, or if you suspect that your employer is violating unemployment tax laws, seek legal counsel to learn how to proceed. An experienced labor attorney will be able to examine your state’s unemployment benefits law and determine if a breach of duty has occurred which could qualify you to take legal action. You could be eligible to receive damages for your situation, including the benefits you should have received immediately.
When Does an Employee Lose the Right to Collect Unemployment?
It should be noted that some situations could affect your eligibility to receive unemployment benefits, regardless of whether your company paid their unemployment taxes as they should. Some examples of situations in which an employee may no longer be eligible to receive unemployment benefits include:
- When a worker is fired with good cause
- When a worker leaves voluntarily
- When a worker qualifies as an independent contractor
- When someone voluntarily chooses not to work
Denied Unemployment Claims Can Be Appealed.
Upon filing for unemployment benefits, a former employer could choose to contest a worker’s claim if they feel they had just cause to terminate the employment; however, to do so is a complicated process that requires a variety of evidence to prove the situation. Even if an employer denies a former employee’s unemployment claim, the former employee could choose to appeal the decision. Appealing a denial of unemployment benefits generally involves a teleconference hearing between the company and the employee as well as their legal counsel. It is highly recommended to hire legal counsel in this situation, as many companies already have access to their own legal teams.
To learn more about unemployment insurance benefits, employer requirements, and what to do if you suspect your unemployment claim has been unfairly denied, seek legal counsel from an experienced employment attorney.