Work it Out Blog

Unemployment Compensation: The Consequence of Failing to Respond to a Request for Separation Information

May 12, 2016 by Jill C. McQueen

It happens often: An employee departs a company and applies for unemployment benefits. A Request for Employer Separation Information later arrives from the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.  If the employer is not particularly opposed to the former employee’s receipt of benefits, it may be tempted to ignore the Request. Is this a wise reaction?

When carrying out an employment termination, an employer may decide for a number of reasons that it does not wish to challenge a separated employee’s application for unemployment benefits. Sometimes, the employer forbears from opposing a benefits application as part of a formal severance agreement. In other cases, it is a verbal assurance given by the employer to the departing employee. When the Request for Separation Information arrives in these situations, the employer may have questions about how—or whether—to respond. May an employer who does not wish to challenge a claim for unemployment simply decline to complete and return the Request form?  The answer is:  not without potential consequences.

Employers who repeatedly fail to respond promptly and adequately to requests for information concerning unemployment claims can be charged for benefits that are improperly awarded based on a lack of response from the employer. If an employer engages in a “pattern of failing to respond” that results in benefits being paid to an ineligible individual, the employer can be charged for such benefits. Those charges can lead to an increase in the employer’s tax rate. According to ODJFS, a pattern of failing to respond will exist if benefits are paid in error three times within a calendar year because of a failure of the employer (or a third-party administrator) to respond to an information request.

Employers should keep this in mind when faced with Requests for information - and when making promises to departing employees.  For example, an employer promising not to oppose an application for unemployment benefits might explain to the employee that it will nevertheless comply with its obligation to furnish compete and accurate information to ODJFS. Employers which decide not to respond to a Request in a given instance should do so only with deliberation and with an awareness of the consequences of allowing too many requests to go unanswered.

If you have questions about a Request for Employer Separation Information or about other issues related to unemployment compensation, contact Jill C. McQueen or your Day Ketterer attorney at 330-455-0173 or info@dayketterer.com.

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.