Hiring Red, White & You!

Print???????On November 13, 2014, for the third year in a row, the Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions Alamo are teaming up to connect employer with Veterans and their family members seeking employment. Hiring Red, White & You allows employers to meeting face-to-face with Veterans and their family members seeking job opportunities in the civilian world. Last year, more than 100 employers participated and the event hosted 200+ Veterans and 800+ jobseekers from the general public.

The Freeman Expo Hall (3201 E. Houston St.) is the location this year. Doors open to Veterans at 9:00 am and the general public is welcome to attend starting at 11:00 am. There is no cost for employers to participate and lunch is provided. Employers interested in registering can do so online at the Workforce Solutions Alamo event splash page.

New this year are pre-event Employer Workshops where businesses of all sizes can learn the benefits of hiring a veteran and the methods to do so. There is no requirement to participate in the job fair, and this too is no cost. Each session is the same and will cover:

• Education and skills of the military pool
• Community resources available to employers when hiring veterans
• How military skills translate into what you need
• How you can translate what you need into military skills
• How to get the most out of participating in a job fair
How to sustain success- limiting turnover of employees who are veterans

Employer Workshop #1
Date: October 30, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: SA Chamber of Commerce Northside Business Center, 1100 NS Loop 410, Ste. 109
San Antonio, TX 78213
Contact/RSVP: Michele Cantu, WSA Business Services Liaison, 210-581-1064 or mcantu@wsalamo.org

Employer Workshop #2
Date: October 30, 2014
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: WSA Career Center, 1499 Hillcrest
San Antonio, TX 78228
Contact/RSVP: Michele Cantu, WSA Business Services Liaison, 210-581-1064 or mcantu@wsalamo.org

Employer Workshop #3
Date: November 13, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Location: Freeman Expo Hall, 3201 E. Houston St., San Antonio, TX 78219
RSVP: Online event registration

Employers can post their job vacancies year-round on Work In Texas at no-cost where a special opportunity exists to promote your job vacancy to veterans only for the first 48 hours of its posting. That means veterans registered in our job search network will see your job opportunity before anyone else!

Small business can benefit greatly from the tax credits available to them when hiring a veteran—as much a $9,600 per veteran employee hired! That is just one benefit you will learn about by participating in Hiring Red, White & You and the associated activities. Space is limited for everything—grab your slot today!

About Workforce Solutions Alamo
Workforce Solutions Alamo is an equal opportunity employer/program. The mission of Workforce Solutions Alamo is to build a premier workforce in America by providing employers and residents with the opportunities, resources and services to develop and gain a competitive edge in the global economy. Workforce Solutions Alamo reaches over 40,000 businesses and more than 2.0 million residents in the City of San Antonio and the counties of Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Guadalupe, Gillespie, Karnes, Kerr, Kendall, Medina and Wilson counties. For more information on available workforce programs and services, visit our website at www.WorkforceSolutionsAlamo.org

Padgett, Stratemann & Co.: Why winning unemployment claims really does matter

Padgett Stratemann & Co.PS&Co. Cynthia Mergele



By Cynthia Mergele
Padgett Stratemann & Co., SPHR,PI

On the face of it, responding to an unemployment claim seems simple enough — answer a few questions and provide the reason why the person is no longer employed by your company.  However, many employers are frustrated by the lack of success they experience in “winning” claims, and this level of frustration is heightened at year-end when they receive the new increased unemployment tax rate for the coming calendar year.

It’s critical that employers realize there are two different types of notices that have unemployment tax implications — “Employer Notice of Unemployment Claim” or “Notice of Maximum Potential Chargeback.”  The unemployment claim is sent to the employer who is indicated as the former employee’s (“claimant”) last employer.  The chargeback notice is sent to all employers who are showing wages during the base period (the period of time used to determine benefits).   Employers frequently ignore chargeback notices, not understanding that while their response will not affect whether or not the former employee receives benefits, a “successful” response could prevent the employer for being charged for any unemployment benefits attributed to their respective chargeback period.

The most important facts to consider regarding unemployment claims are the basis for what determines an applicant’s disqualification for benefits.  Individuals that are out of work through no fault of their own (layoff, reduction in force, etc.) are considered qualified for benefits.  Employees who quit voluntary would be considered disqualified.  But a word of warning — offering the employee the opportunity to quit to avoid being fired is not voluntary!  Discharge for misconduct related to work is also cause for disqualification, but employers have to be clear that misconduct occurred — in very simple terms, the employee did something wrong that they knew was wrong and (in most cases) was warned and given the opportunity to correct the issue.  An employee’s inability or lack of skill in performing their work is not misconduct.

Claimants who are paid wages in lieu of notice will be disqualified for benefits for the period of time in which they continue to receive these wages.  Also, claimants who are receiving workers’ compensation or a retirement pension would be disqualified for benefits.

Success in winning claims is in the documentation and facts provided.  The easiest way to prove employees are aware of the rules is to show evidence of a written policy and the employee’s receipt of the policy — a signed acknowledgement of receipt of an employee handbook and a copy of the policy from the handbook which shows the policy violated.  Evidence of counseling of earlier violations is also critical to include statements provided to employees that communicate the consequences of future violations to include termination.  Providing information regarding witnesses is imperative. Employers should avoid “muddying the waters” with issues that are not related to the reason for the termination.  And while last, but not certainly not least important, try to avoid delays of time between the final violation and the termination.  If there is a delay in time between the date of the final offense and the termination, show a good business reason for the delay — whether it was time needed to conduct an investigation, or the fact that the supervisor was away.  Not providing valid reasons for these types of delays can have detrimental impact on employers successfully defending claims.

Unemployment claims can be costly.  For 2014, the highest unemployment tax rate is 7.41% and the average rate is 1.66%.  For a company with 100 employees, the difference in rates represents an additional tax of $51,750!

Employers need to be deliberate, diligent, and timely in responding to unemployment claims and chargeback notices.  They should also consider seeking the support of legal counsel if they have concerns with litigation, as information provided on unemployment claims is subject to discovery.

Volunteer Spotlight: Laura O’Donnell, Haynes and Boone, LLP

AODonnell_Laurabout the Company: Laura O’Donnell is a Partner with the law firm of Haynes and Boone. She is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Laura specializes in FLSA collective actions and state wage and hour class actions as well as class discrimination, particularly EEOC claims of systemic discrimination. Laura is co-leader of the Firm’s Wage and Hour Litigation group.

About the Program: This year, the North Chamber and Haynes and Boone, LLP will present an Annual Employment Law Update for the 12th consecutive year. This full-day program is designed to update employers, human resources professionals, in-house councils, managers and business owners on the latest in employment law to help reduce and/or avoid costly litigation. Haynes and Boone lend their most skilled employment law attorneys from across Texas for this enriching legal seminar.

Personally Speaking: Laura has been involved with the North Chamber for many years working on the Enterprising Women’s Conference and chairing several EWC committees. Laura has chaired the Annual Employment Law Update since its inception 12 years ago.