Washington recently updated and amended its unemployment compensation rules on a variety of issues, including the following:
Gross misconduct: the rules now provide examples of conduct that will automatically be considered “flagrant and wanton” conduct for purposes of meeting the “gross misconduct” standard under the unemployment rules. Examples include: a medical provider found to be under the influence of illegal narcotics while at work, a health care worker who steals money or valuables from patients, a commercial truck driver who operates the employer’s motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and a school employee who is convicted of conduct requiring the employee to register as a sex offender.
Discharge before resignation: If an employee resigns and then is discharged before the end of his or her notice period, the separation will be treated as a discharge. Unemployment benefits will not be denied unless the employer can show that the individual was discharged for misconduct. If, however, the employer pays the employee throughout the notice period, but does not require them to show up for work, then the separation will be treated as a voluntary quit.
Bonuses, sick leave, vacation or holiday pay: These types of payments must be reported by the claimant, and when they are assigned to a specific time period during which the claimant has claimed benefits, they will be deducted from the claimant’s benefits.
Incarceration: If the claimant is jailed, but released without being charged with, or convicted of a crime, the employee will not be deemed to have committed misconduct unless he or she is terminated for absenteeism for failing to notify the employer of the absence.
These changes went into effect on June 12, 2010. Have questions about how the unemployment rules might apply to a given situation? Contact your Vigilant staff representative.
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult Vigilant or legal counsel.