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Protecting Your Company from Unemployment Claims

If your business has employees, then you should be aware of unemployment issues.  The Georgia Department of Labor has a great little book called “Unemployment Insurance:  The Employer’s Handbook.”  You can get a copy by calling (404) 232-3395, or better yet, it’s available online at www.dol.state.ga.us.  The Handbook provides everything you need or want to know about unemployment compensation and your responsibility as an employer.

When a client calls and tells me that they fired an employee two weeks ago, the first thing I ask is, “Did you give complete Form DOL-800, Separation Notice and give it to the employee?”  Unfortunately, the answer is usually, “No, what’s that?”  Form DOL-800 is a form that employers are required to complete for each worker separated, regardless of the reason for separation.  The Separation Notice should be completed, dated and delivered to the separated employee on the last day of work.  Attached is the Form DOL-800 for you to keep and use.

The notice of separation should clearly state the reason for termination.  This is another area in which I find that my clients have problems.  The information that you give for the termination will play an important part in the decision of whether the separated employee is allowed to qualify for unemployment benefits.  I had a client who failed to give a separated employee the Separation Notice and the hearing office for the Department of Labor allowed the separated employee to receive unemployment, even though she had resigned from employment!  This is an area that is fraught with traps.  Please give me a call if you are considering terminating an employee so that we can do whatever is necessary to protect your company from increased unemployment premiums.