When investigating unemployment claims, the state often focuses its attention on the final incident. For example, an employee may have been tardy 20 times and you terminate on the 21st tardy. The state will want to know what was so special about this particular tardy that warranted termination. Progressive discipline and documentation are imperative in fighting these claims and providing proof of a final incident that warranted termination.
- When terminating a problematic employee, these things will need to be considered in determining if the final incident is defensible for the employer:
- If the employee is not following policy, do you have a written copy of the policy (i.e. an employee handbook) and an acknowledgement signed by the employee?
- Do you have at least two written warnings within the last six months that specifically state the employee’s problematic behavior, requirements for improvement, and consequences if not achieved? Is it signed or otherwise acknowledged by the employee (such as a written rebuttal)? The final warning should clearly state that one more incident will result in termination.
- If you have more than four or five written warnings within the last six months, do you have a good reason as to why the behavior was allowed to continue? Too many warnings can be detrimental to the company as well, since the behavior was allowed to continue multiple times. It makes the termination less justifiable.