If employers are to minimize the disbursement of unemployment benefits, it is imperative that they form a solid employee policy, free of potentially confusing language and unnecessary or outdated information. It is essential that the handbook outline all company policies, expectations and consequences of any violations, in clear simplified terms that do not allow for any misunderstandings. Any oversight in this area may create loopholes and misinterpretations ultimately leading to unnecessary allocations of unemployment benefits.
The ability to prove each employee has signed the company handbook is just as important as the policy itself. This is imperative, as former employees are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits if it is proven that they knowingly violated a company policy.
This was the case in a recent unemployment claim filed by an employee of Game Stop. He had been suspended and eventually fired for violating the company’s Employee Transactions and Return policies. He applied for unemployment compensation, arguing that he didn’t know about the policy. The employer provided evidence showing the claimant’s signature on the handbook receipt and records showing that return policies had been covered in required training. As a result, he was denied benefits.
When an employee has signed a clearly defined company policy, it is difficult to later claim they misunderstood the terms of their employment. For this reason, it is also necessary to keep the handbook up to date with any alterations to company policies made as soon as they are implemented, signed by all employees.
Read the court’s decision here: https://casetext.com/case/lahn-v-gamestop-inc