Unemployment Compensation Defense

In Ohio, unemployment compensation is awarded to employees who are terminated from employment without just cause. In theory, unemployment benefits are for employees who are laid off. However, most employees who are terminated – for whatever reason – file for unemployment benefits. Employees can file for unemployment benefits by either going to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in person, its website, or calling it on the telephone.

Once an employee files for unemployment benefits, the employer is requested to articulate why the employee was separated from employment. Many employers respond with brevity either because they are angry that the terminated employee filed for unemployment or they are overworked and do not consider a response to be a top priority. Responding to an unemployment claim with anything but full answers with documented evidence is a critical error. Employers who provide a more reasoned explanation for the termination have a much less likelihood that the former employee is awarded unemployment benefits.

Employers (and employees alike) are able to challenge unemployment benefit awards. When challenged, an unemployment hearing is held by the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission. These hearings can be in person or via telephone, which is more convenient for the parties. Employers typically have legal counsel, like Austin Legal, represent them during unemployment appeals. The parties have the ability to, though rarely do, continue the appeal process into a Court of Common Pleas.

In Ohio, employers pay an unemployment tax for each of their employees. In essence, there is one giant pot of unemployment tax money that is distributed to workers as needed. This tax is calculated based on a number of factors and goes up or down depending on the level of payments made to former employees. Employers are better off by winning a denial of unemployment in the beginning instead of winning during an appeal. Although a win is a win, employees who are initially awarded unemployment benefits, which are later denied, must repay the erroneously awarded benefits. As you can imagine, the unemployment benefits have already been spent by the time the employer wins the appeal. But only after the erroneously paid benefits are returned to the giant pot of unemployment money is the employer re-credited with those contributions, and depending on the number of employees and level of unemployment taxes paid by that employer, the re-credit may be a significant amount. As such, seeking legal guidance from the beginning of an unemployment claim is prudent.