Not only is a Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Unemployment Claims Hearing not something to fear but it’s something to expect — even if you do everything right. If you have employees, you will get audited. It’s just a matter of time. In some ways that’s good because it says that someone is watching.
Be Prepared is Key
The key is to be prepared and to do what you need to do so Texas Workforce hearings and audits only happen rarely in your career in business. It’s sort of a rule of thumb however that the more employees you have, the higher the number of contacts you’ll have with TWC.
We have had this happen to us. We’ve also been brought in occasionally by clients that needed someone to help them talk to a Texas Workforce hearings officer. (The client won, I’m glad to say because we had proof that the employee had abandoned the job not been fired as she claimed.)
Just recently, we were brought in by or rather because of a former employee of ours. He found a job that was in a different field that he wanted to pursue and we were happy for him. He’s a great guy and talented. He just made a little mistake and the TWC found it when he applied for unemployment.
His mistake had to do with dates. The dates he said he worked for us, he didn’t. He was on vacation. The days he did work for us, he said he didn’t. So his information and our reports didn’t match. Voila! A hearing happened.
Everything worked out but it was a hassle for everyone.
3 Ways to Get Ready for a Texas Workforce Hearing
Here are three ways you can prepare if you find yourself hearing bound.
- Talk to the hearings officer before the hearing to make sure you understand the purpose of the hearing and what you need to have ready. They really can be very helpful.
- Prepare thoroughly because only employees can appeal an unemployment hearing decision.
- Put processes in place that make reports and wage statements “idiot proof”.
You can also be better prepared if you know more about who you are dealing with at the TWC. They are listed on linkedin at http://www.linkedin.com/title/hearing-officer/at-texas-workforce-commission so you can contact them directly. We did and it was a huge help. Their profile can give you some insight.The Hearings Officer told us what she needed to see and what to expect. Everything happened as she described.
The TWC also has some great recommendations for what it calls, “Unemployment Claim Management”. (http://www.twc.state.tx.us/customers/bemp/unemployment-claim-management.html).
For some ideas about avoiding problems dealing with employment contracts, check out the post by Kathy Tremmel, another Business Bank of Texas Resource Center expert.
Don’t shrug off the third way. You may think this is the one thing where nothing could go wrong. Reports are pretty standard, right? Yes and no. All it takes is a mistake in a date or rate and TWC will be at your door.
The fix: make sure everything you give an employee, but especially wages, has dates and maybe even hours on it. Make it easy for them to be right instead of having to recollect. If you use a time clock system, this is easy. If you do things on a spreadsheet or paper and pencil, date and time mistakes happen.
Finally, always have someone else double check the information you put on your payroll report: dates, times, and rates. It’s easy to miss or transpose something.