We get a large number of separation reports indicating “Inability to meet company standards” as the reason for termination. You have to understand that this language, as the reason for termination, is not a protestable claim! The bigger problem is when to use this terminology because it is not being used properly. Let me explain. When an employee simply cannot do the job (can’t walk and chew gum) the reason for separation is inability to meet company standards. It’s merely poor work performance and the employee would be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Employers have a tendency to use the inability to meet company standards category when the employee violates an established rule (or from the employers perspective-a company standard). If it is truly a violation of a company rule, then the employee should be warned using progressive discipline unless the infraction is so severe it does not warrant a warning.
Another terminology that is misused (once again) is the “At-will” statement. Employers continue to use this as the reason for separation. NEVER use this on a separation report. When our staff receives this as the reason for separation it forces us to contact you for the additional information as to the underlying circumstances surrounding the reason for discharge. The At-will statement is a legal definition not having anything to do with unemployment benefits. The unemployment offices could care less. It only applies, as a concept, to wrongful termination claims that are based upon a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing (as an example, an employer violating their own policies found in or out of their employee handbook) and not violations of public policy (discrimination claims, retaliation etc.). As you can see it is used for a very limited purpose and only applies in a limted set of circumstances.
It’s important to understand how we process unemployement claims. When the claims come in we separate out the claims that are not protestable and merely enter them into the system for auditing purposes only. Included in that process would be the separations that indicate inability to meet company standards. If you want us to take a second look at the reason why the person was discharged never put inability to meet company standards. We have had circumstances where the employer really wanted us to protest a claim but because of how the information was conveyed to us it didn’t happen. If anyone needs any further clarification on any of these points please contact me or Maria.