Poor Job Performance and Unemployment Claims
Hiring decisions can be unpredictable, and not every new hire proves to be the perfect fit for an organization. For Texas employers, dealing with poor job performance and subsequent unemployment claims can be a complex matter. As we delve into the intricacies of this topic, Mario Hernandez, Legal Counsel to Commissioner Aaron Demerson, sheds light on the considerations and challenges faced by employers when navigating unemployment claims related to job performance. Hernandez explores the factors that come into play when determining whether poor job performance constitutes misconduct connected with the work and how employers can strengthen their position in such claims. Understanding these critical aspects can empower businesses to make informed decisions and ensure a fair resolution for all parties involved.
As employers in our great state know, hiring is not an exact science. In an ideal world, every new hire would be perfect and never have to be replaced by the employer. However, the reality is that some employees will be great additions, while others will not. At some point, an employer may conclude that an employee is not meeting expectations and will discharge the employee due to poor job performance. But what if the former employee files an unemployment claim? Will the poor job performance amount to misconduct connected with the work?
Inability to Meet the Employer's Expectations
Note: The links in the paragraphs below are taken from the Texas Workforce Commission's Unemployment Benefits Appeals Policy & Precedent Manual.
Prevailing in Job Performance Claims
While unemployment claims about job performance can potentially be challenging, it is still possible for the employer to prevail. For example, establishing that the claimant's work was not complex, and that the claimant failed to pay reasonable attention to tasks could establish misconduct connected with the work. (SeeAppeal No. 96-003785-10-031997: https://twc.texas.gov/files/twc/appeals-policy-precedent-manual.pdf#page=356). Furthermore, if the employer can establish that there was an unexplained drop-off in the claimant's work performance, when the claimant had previously performed the work adequately, misconduct connected with the work could be found. (See: Appeal No. 1781-CA-77: https://twc.texas.gov/files/twc/appeals-policy-precedent-manual.pdf#page=354). Moreover, a claimant's negligent performance of the work has also been found to be misconduct connected with the work. (See precedents under “MC 300.40 Manner of Performing Work: Careless or Negligent Work.” here: https://twc.texas.gov/files/twc/appeals-policy-precedent-manual.pdf#page=356).
In an unemployment claim about job performance, a claimant could contend that they could not meet the employer's expectations despite working to the best of their ability. If that occurs, the employer has a better chance at prevailing on the claim if it can establish that the final incident of poor job performance was close to the time of discharge, was within the claimant's power to control, and that the claimant knew or should have known that failure to improve would result in discharge.