Unemployment After Termination for Poor Performance

The Ohio Supreme Court has held that an employee will be disqualified from unemployment compensation due to a termination for poor performance only when the following factors are met:

  1. The employee does not perform required work.
  2. The employer made its expectations known at the time of hire
  3. Those expectations are reasonable
  4. The requirements of the job have not changed since the date of hire.

This case changed prior case law, which held that an employer did not have just to terminate an employee for failing to meet performance expectations unless the employer also showed evidence of wrongdoing or that they were not working to the best of their ability.  That case law relied upon the established rule that fault on behalf of the employee is an essential component of a just cause termination.

The Ohio Supreme Court agreed that fault remained essential, however it reasoned that, “An employer relies upon an employee's representations that she can adequately perform the required work. Likewise, an employee relies upon an employer's description of what the job will entail. The party that fails to live up to those expectations is at fault.” 

In my experience, Unemployment does not seem to give much attention to the reasonableness of the expectations, at least not unless they changed during the employment.  Instead, successful claims often focus on whether the employee performed the work and whether the job requirements changed since their date of hire.