October 23, 2013

Mark Terman Quoted in HREonline

Los Angeles partner Mark Terman was quoted in a HREonline article titled, “A Matter of Time (and Accuracy).”

Employers are being advised to pay close attention or risk being penalized as states begin to enact legislation before an Oct. 21 deadline that will compel them to respond "timely and accurately" to requests for information from state unemployment offices relating to former employees’ claims for benefits.

The legislative actions are tied to a mandate in the Federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011, which was passed by Congress on Oct. 21, 2011.

Mark commented, “There are several valid reasons for an employer not to respond to an unemployment-insurance office’s request for information for particular individuals. Generally, a former employee is eligible for unemployment if the separation was involuntary and it was through no fault or misconduct on the part of the employee.  An employer might miss the notice and not know it’s there. Or an employer might be aware of the notice, and they might have a basis to contest the claim, but, knowing that times are tough in this economy, they don’t want to stand in the way of a former employee getting unemployment benefits."

Mark continued, “Another reason an employer might choose not to respond would be in the case of a problem employee, in which case HR would not want to initiate a dispute at the unemployment stage. Or the employer might think that a former employee could have [legitimate] claims against them, but they might be less inclined to pursue those claims if they’re happy enough receiving unemployment payments.”

Mark points to a California statute that went into effect this year that says organizations that fail to report a material fact about an employee’s separation from work may be assessed a cash penalty. “I’ve not seen that happen yet, but that statute is there,” Mark concludes.

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