Well, I lost My Appeal

The California labor board has ruled, in its infinite wisdom, that my company is responsible* for the unemployment insurance payments to an employee who got hurt when he wrecked his motorcycle on his own time and was physically unable to work.  So an employee gets hurt in his off time and leaves us in the lurch when he can't work during our busiest season, and we owe him money for staying home?  Other issues I have with California unemployment here.  The original post about the ruling I was trying to appeal is here.

* Being responsible means that these payments go into the calculation for our unemployment insurance premiums.  Effectively the premiums we pay this year are calculated to match the payouts to our employees (or ex-employees) last year.


  1. Raven:

    Well, the ruling does provide an interesting economic incentive for you to hire based on the hobbies of candidates... somehow I'm guessing that's not the goal though.

  2. bbeeman:

    Ah, the joys of no longer being a California employer.

    The worst one I remember was being charged for an employee who resigned (with no notice) to take another job. Two years later the state charged our account for him, as the new employer had gone out of business and they couldn't tap that employers account.

    I did manage to win a couple of cases where we had discharged for cause, but it took multiple appearances and was practical to pursue only because we were local and it didn't take travel to appear and oppose.

    We have made some inroads on the worst of the Worker's Comp abuses (much more to be done), but the unemployment scams are as bad as ever. There's absolutely no attempt to enforce the "actively seeking work" requirements, and from the employer's standpoint the EDD bureaucracy is incredibly biased and non-responsive.

  3. tim:

    I had a satelite office in Iowa where the office manager hired a girl that should never have been hired. She had "scammer" written all over her. Sure enough, she stopped coming in on the 29th day of her employment and filed for unemployment. It turns out that you only need to be employed for 30 days in Iowa to collect and it really doesn't matter the hows or whys she left. The only thing that saved me was she counted how many days she had been employed wrong. She was HOPPING MAD, there were threats of violence against my manager. It was pretty ugly.

    After years of babysitting employees, when I finally sold my company in 2003, I filed for unemployment. Maybe you think less of me, but I don't care. After 10 years of paying and paying it felt good to have MY money back.

  4. Bearster:

    Tim: it is not your money coming back. It's the money of the current employers, who didn't take any money of yours.

    One reason why social "security" perpetuates itself is the exact mentality that you espouse: well, I was robbed so I might as well rob the next chump to come along.

    Hey, while we're on the topic... my car was stolen last month. Where do you park yours so I can come along and get back what was taken from me?

    Obviously, this "logic" doesn't work.

  5. Tom:

    Many years back in Texas we had an ex-employee file for unemployment against our account, claiming we had laid him off. We had never laid off anyone, he had simply disappeared one day. At the hearing I offered him his job back effective immediately (I knew him personally as a good guy who also was a great asset on our softball team). The hearing officer would have none of that and ruled that his benefits were chargeable to us and the fact that he had a job offer from us did not effect his eligibility to continue to collect unemployment.

    I stopped going to those hearings after that. There's no point if you can't win no matter the evidence.

  6. Mark:

    In our state the "hearing judges" are not real judges. They are actually representatives of the state and they have every incentive to rule against the employers because if they do not the state will have to "pay".

    These biased "judges" will make make points of law against the employers but the employers must make their own cases.

  7. Larry Sheldon:

    The good news is that is perfectly consistent with California ethics and policy.

    Among the reasons my ZIP Code has no "9" in it.

  8. la petite chou chou:

    Oregon and Washington start with a 9 as well. :)

    I guess I actually don't know anything about this since I am not a business owner, but I can say that it seems really wrong and yet somehow seems just exactly like I expect them to behave.


  9. TC:

    Hey quit yer bitchin!

    Somebody's gotta pay for this national health care system! :)

    See how smart Mark is?

  10. ParatrooperJJ:

    Is there not a database of everyone in CA who has filed a claim? We use one here in OH and will not hire anyone who has submitted an unemploynment claim.

  11. dski:

    Sounds like people need to listen to Marc Stevens (Adventures in Legal Land). He has three questions to ask the "judge."
    1. Am I entitled to a fair trial (hearing)?
    2. Can I get a fair trial (hearing) if there is a conflict of interest?
    3. Who do you work for?
    He says the "judge" usually refuses to answer the third question.

  12. Vorpal:

    Could you appeal the decision in court, or petition a court for a writ of mandate to force the labor department to follow the law?

    Obviously, the cost wouldn't be worth it for this one case standing alone, but if you won, that could save you (and everyone else) a ton of money in the future.

  13. ParatrooperJJ:

    Hire using a temp agency.

  14. Elizabeth Salazar:

    I wrote the words "terminated-Final wages, G.R.!" on the memo section of the final pay check to a worthless prep cook who walked out on his job the night before a HUGE catering event.(he wanted the weekend off--so he decided to quit without notice!) His skill level was very low, and work ethic even worse...but that did'nt change the fact that I needed a Prep cook the next day--regardless of skill or ability--I needed "a pulse" that's it.

    A few weeks later, I recieved an Unemployment letter Claiming that he was "fired"- Along with the claim, was a copy of the check. --He actually convinced the EDD that he was fired and his "proof" was that the word
    "terminated" was written on his check. I appealed thier decision. The Apeals conference took place a few days ago.

    I also recieved a claim from the Labor commision claiming that his paycheck shoud have been given to him that day since I "fired" him.

    Am I not correct that the word terminated means "END" -- The employee/employer relatinship has ended? That is what my intention was when I wrote it---not that I had fired him. After explaining this to the Judge, he asked what "G. R.!" was. I confidently and with a slight sigh of relief said "GOOD RIDDANCE Your honor"

    Choosing those words in my determination to have the last word may result in us subsidizing this lying punks' lifesyle for the next 18 months---

    So here is the question: What definition of "termination" takes presinence? And The phrase "good Riddance"--does not establish anything except that it's good that it's gone--Right?

    He deserted his job on Feb 28, After countless attempts, I finally found out, during the appeals hearing just what he was "claiming he was "fired" for. Are business owners not entitled to an interview with EDD? Is there any advocacy group that employers can turn to? And is lying to collect unemployment benefits punishable? I found out that this guy has been on unemployment 3 different times--about a year and ahalf each occurance.--He worked for me for 6 months and 11 days--Just enough time to tap another account! errrrr....