If you have fired an employee for the reason of poor performance, they may still be eligible to receive unemployment. Depending upon the state that you live in, most states consider workers who are terminated because of performance issue to still be eligible in many instances, provided they meet other work requirements.
What Does Poor Performance Mean?
Poor performance can be considered a catch-all term for several different reasons why an employee has been separated from their job. It is often defined as the employee’s inability to meet the standards set for their particular position provided that this inability was not deliberate.
Examples of why you would fire an employee because of poor performance may include that he or she:
- Is a poor fit for the position in which they were hired
- Does not have the proper skills or training for the position in which they were hired
- Has been unable to perform to the standards for the position as expected by the employer
- Made honest mistakes that cannot be considered willful misconduct
However, if you can prove that the employee has intentionally acted in any of these circumstances, it is possible that their unemployment benefits may be completely denied or delayed for a period of time.
For example, if the employee has intentionally shown misconduct or has acted recklessly against the best interests of your business, it is important not to label their dismissal as due to poor performance. This could be that they have previously performed their job as required, but have now stopped doing so intentionally. Keep in mind this does not include instances where the employee’s skills have declined because of infirmity or other declines.
Reasons Why an Employee May be Ruled Ineligible for Unemployment Benefits
It is important to protect your rights as an employer and help keep your costs for unemployment in check. The most important way is to understand the circumstances in which you would fire an employee under the guise of poor performance versus misconduct. For example, if after repeated warnings your employee has not corrected their behavior or performance to adhere to company policy; this may be grounds for being terminated for reasons of misconduct.
Instances of misconduct may include:
- Excessive tardiness or unexcused absences
- Insubordination or causing dissension among other employees
- Dishonesty or stealing
- Sexual harassment
- Violating safety rules
- Intoxication or failing a drug or alcohol test
The severity of the willful misconduct of the employee will be taken into consideration when determining if and when they will be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.