Unemployment benefits and "the last incident"

I participated in a unemployment webinar yesterday that discussed "the last incident" concept as it relates to how unemployment benefits are determined. I had not heard of this before and found it interesting.

Essentially, when an employee is discharged and files for unemployment, the "last incident" will be looked at when benefit eligibility is being determined.

Employees discharged for misconduct (deliberate and willful disregard of the employer's interest or repeated violations of known company policy) are not generally eligible for UE benefits.

But... if the "last incident" that led to the discharge does not fit that definition, the EE would be eligible for benefits.

So if you have an employee who commits serious misconduct and you set up a "last chance" agreement and then a week later the employee is discharged for a minor violation, that EE very well might qualify for unemployment benefits despite the history of misconduct.


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  • We actually had something similar happen. Employee was warned about gross misconduct and insubordination and instead of immediately terminating him he stayed on a week and was finally let go for more misconduct not as serious.
    We fought the unemployment compensation claim but were informed that because we let him continue another week before the final termination our opposition was denied. :mad:
  • Well isn't that dandy. . .seems like lately unless you embezzled a million you will get UE
  • The question I asked the fellow leading the webinar was "Doesn't every employee ALWAYS have an excuse for their behavior?"

    Especially employees who know they are on thin ice. There is ALWAYS a good reason why they can't be on time....

    I personally have never had an employee explain their behavior as a "willful and intentional disregard for the employer's interests".
  • Unemployment can be a sore subject with me. My experience so far is it depends on the judge when you ask for a hearing. It is subjective. We had an employee that was caught smoking pot in the cooler, and won his benefits, no matter how hard we fought. Then, we had an employee come to work intoxicated, and we won that one. So, it seems you can get high at work, but not come to work high. What?!?!? Misconduct, is misconduct. But what is their definition of that? Even though no drug use of any kind is tolerated, and is in our handbook, it just depends on the judge. I would LOVE to know how to get around that.
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