Recently, I had a chance to talk to one of the HR managers at Kaiser. I couldn’t help but ask him why is it that Kaiser tends to fight their terminated employees’ claims for unemployment benefits. Having had at least a dozen of clients who were terminated from Kaiser in the Sacramento area alone during the past six months, and who needed help reversing their denial of benefits, I couldn’t help but be curious. After talking to him, I realized that at least one of the major reasons that Kaiser tries to have their fired nurses and cna’s benefits denied is because they think that if they win in front of the Unemployment Appeals Board, the fired employee will be discouraged from taking any other legal action and will be less likely to sue for wrongful termination.
In reality, however, the exact opposite is often true. Managers don’t seem to realize that by trying to strangle a victim after shooting it, they only increase the chances of the employee getting angrier at them, more desperate for income, and thus having no other resort but at least try and bring a lawsuit against the employer. A terminated employee who feels that he was treated unfairly gets approved for unemployment benefits, might feel better in part because of having at least some income while he is looking for a new job. On the other hand, the same employee who has to fight to get his unemployment benefits will be much more likely to get even more angry at his employer and will be much more eager to sue.
It’s important for both the employers and employees to remember that the outcome of the unemployment appeal hearing has no bearing on an employee’s legal claims and has marginal relevance at best to the employee’s ability to prove his claims in court. In other words, just because the employee is not eligible for unemployment benefits, doesn’t mean that he won’t win his case in court. The opposite is true as well – getting unemployment benefits awarded is no assurance to winning a lawsuit.