In a Texas case of first impression, Fort Worth Court of Appeals held that an employee on FMLA leave of absence is not entitled to receipt of state unemployment benefits reversing the Texas Workforce Commission’s administrative decision.  In Texas Workforce Commission v. Wichita County, Texas, a county employee applied for state unemployment benefits when

In Texas, employees and employers are entitled to a telephone hearing before a hearing officer if either party disagrees with an initial determination issued by the Commission in unemployment benefit and Texas Pay Day Act claims.  There are some occasions, however, where an employer may consider foregoing these telephone conferences –even if it means losing the unemployment

Most Texas employers handle claims for unemployment compensation in-house (i.e., they don’t use an outside lawyer).  A good resource to consult when handling these claims (and for answers to many Texas specific employment-related legal issues generally) is published by the Texas Workforce Commission titled "Especially for Texas Employers".  According to its introduction, 
 

Especially for Texas

Texas employees are ineligible for unemployment benefits if the are terminated from employment for "misconduct connected with the work."  Misconduct connected with the work includes "mismanagement of a position of employment by action or inaction, neglect that jeopardizes the life or property of another, intentional wrongdoing or malfeasance, intentional violation of a law, or violation of a policy

Senate Bill 314 was enrolled in the Texas Legislature and would exclude, from an employer’s unemployment tax account (i.e., no chargeback), unemployment benefits paid to an employee who left employment because he or she (or their immediate family member) is a victim of sexual assault.  Bill text here.

 

There continues to be a substantial increase in the number of unemployment claims filed by Texas employees. This increase has the potential to raise the unemployment tax rate for employers that do not take proactive steps to manage their Texas unemployment tax rates.  The state unemployment tax rate is the only business tax an employer can control.

To understand how to

The Texas Workforce Commission has published the unemployment tax rates for 2011.  The minimum tax rate increases from .72 percent to .78 percent.  The maximum tax rate; however, will drop from 8.60 percent to 8.25 percent.  The average unemployment tax rate will increase from 1.83 to 2.03 percent and the average experience tax rate will be 1.96

Last week, the El Paso Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment in favor of an employer on an unemployment benefit eligibility issue where the employee, abandoned his job.  The employee was a Nationwide Financed Agent from January 2003 until November 2005.  A Financed Agent is an employee-agent of Nationwide who starts an insurance agency and operates it to the