How are harassment allegations addressed in unemployment claims?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Employment Law for Employers

Texas businesses are increasingly taking the initiative with protecting themselves by having comprehensive training and workplace policies to address and prevent harassment. Often, this is centered on sexual harassment, but there are other ways in which this can be an issue in the workplace. Bullying and discriminatory harassment are two others.

In some cases, a worker will quit their job because of the harassment. In others, an employee is terminated because they harassed others. This could have an impact on whether an unemployment benefits claim will be approved. There are state guidelines for these circumstances that employers should be aware of. As the case moves forward, it is also useful to have help.

What happens with unemployment claims after a harassment case?

Employees who say they are being harassed and that the harassment has reached a level where they can no longer stay in the job may decide to quit. This can be a difficult case when they seek unemployment benefits.

Employers are obligated to take specific steps to protect workers from harassment. That includes preventing it by having a series of guidelines for behavior and giving workers an outlet to lodge complaints if they feel they are being mistreated. The employer should also investigate and act when a harassment claim is made. Those who are found to have committed harassment can be sanctioned or even fired.

After an employer has done everything feasible to address the issue and believes it was handled in an aboveboard manner, but the complaining employee still quits, then the employer might not be obligated to pay unemployment. Some employees simply leave before the employer can do anything about the harassment. Doing this without notifying an employer about the harassment will likely shield the employer from needing to pay unemployment benefits.

Employees who are terminated after being accused of harassment might also have a difficult time getting unemployment benefits. Employers should not make any rash decisions when there are accusations of harassment.

The following is important in this type of case: the investigation must be comprehensive; the policies known; proof must be shown that the terminated employee was aware of the anti-harassment policy; there should be a report of the investigation and how the employee was warned to stop their behavior; and there needs to be evidence as to what occurred. Adhering to these steps will give employers a strong foundation when disputing an unemployment claim.

Employers are advised to be prepared for every eventuality

For employment law cases, it is often viewed from the perspective of the aggrieved employee. This is understandable given the amount of attention these issues have garnered in recent years. It is wise to note that employers have rights. Employment law for employers can be confusing and it is vital to try and forge workable solutions with limited long-term damage to the business.

Employers are advised to be fully prepared for every eventuality. Still, even the most vigilant employers will be confronted with challenges. It is generally preferable to avoid court in these cases. With that, negotiation can be easier with experienced representation. If the case does go to court, it is even more crucial to have legal guidance.

When facing harassment claims, being proactive is key. This means consulting with professionals who are well-versed in employment cases and their aftermath. From the start, employers must be protected. Discussing the case with those who have a wide range of experience in all forms of employment law from the employer’s viewpoint can be a good start to reaching a satisfactory result.