Unemployment Benefits

Rob Wiley: My name is Rob Wiley, and I'm talking today with Austin Employment Lawyer Colin Walsh, and we're going to be discussing unemployment benefits. So, in Texas, someone's been working for an employer, and then, all of a sudden, that employer announces a layoff or maybe says that employee did something wrong. You're fired. And that employee goes to claim unemployment benefits. What are unemployment benefits in Texas?

Colin Walsh: Employment benefits are what you get when you are fired or leave your employment.

Rob Wiley: And they're paid by the State of Texas?

Colin Walsh: That's correct. Employers pay into the state, and they pay you.

Rob Wiley: And, as an employer myself, I know that every quarter you turn around, and you pay your C3 taxes. And so this really isn't free money. It's something that's been paid for. So let's say somebody wants to claim their unemployment benefits because they've been fired. How would that employee or former employee go about doing that?

Colin Walsh: Well, there's a few different ways you can do it. You can do it online, you can do it in person, or you can do it via teleserve. And my feeling is that doing it online is not, doing it too little. Doing it in person is a bit too much. But the teleserve is just right.

Rob Wiley: Kind of like Goldilocks. Too much information if you're sitting there in person. They find a reason to disqualify you. Internet, too little information. But, on the teleserve, they're asking the right kinds of questions. If someone calls in, I mean, are there certain things that people should keep in mind?

Colin Walsh: Yes. There are rules about who gets unemployment benefits. You're not entitled to unemployment benefits if you were fired for misconduct, but that's a fairly narrowly defined term, and hiring an attorney, an employment attorney, is going to help you determine whether or not you were fired for misconduct.

Rob Wiley: Yeah. Or whether or not you meet the legal standard. And I think that one of the things to always remember is that Texas makes a big distinction between people that were fired or were involuntarily terminated from work and people that quit. What kind of impact does that have on unemployment benefit determinations?

Colin Walsh: Well, that can be dispositive. If somebody voluntarily quit, then, generally, they're not going to be entitled to unemployment benefits. But if they're involuntarily separated or if they are fired, they generally are.

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