Does paying severance to a terminated employee help fight against their unemployment claim?

We have an employee that we fired because she falsified her timecard. We paid her for accrued vacation per our policy and we were going to pay her 2 weeks severance. However, today I received a request for unemployment. Should I tell her that we will not be paying her severance or will that help in my

case fighting unemployment?

Asked on June 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Paying severance has nothing to do with her claim for unemployment: if she was terminated other than for cause, she is entitled to unemployment--that is the law, and she can't give up that right. Of course, falsifying a time card is theft of time from the employer and *is* grounds for a "for cause" termination, so based on why you fired her, you should be able to oppose her claim.
What you use severance for is to get the employer to agree to not sue you, such as for wrongful termination or discrimination: make her sign a separation and release agreement giving up her right to sue if she wants to get the severance, and don't pay it if she won't sign.


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