The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has released the following guidelines for employers in the event employees decline to return to work or reject a suitable work assignment:
State statute governing unemployment compensation in Tennessee requires claimants to return to work when recalled by their employer.
The statute also has provisions requiring claimants interviewing for employment to accept an offer of suitable work. The Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2021 requires states have methods in place for employers to report claimants who refuse offers of suitable work.
Tennessee law requires unemployment claimants to accept suitable work when offered by an employer or risk disqualification from the unemployment benefits program.
If an employer contacts the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) and notifies the agency an applicant who is receiving unemployment did not accept a job offer, the agency will investigate the allegation.
TDLWD requires the employer to provide the name of the claimant, the job title refused, the job’s pay rate, and the required job duties.
Employers can submit that information through the REFUSAL TO ACCEPT WORK portal available here.
If the agency finds a claimant did refuse suitable work, the individual will lose unemployment benefits and they could potentially be liable to pay back any benefits received after the employer notified TDLWD of the refusal.
A claimant must also report to work when recalled by their employer or risk disqualification from the unemployment benefits program.
Employers can report any employee who refuses a request they return to work by submitting information through the REFUSAL TO RETURN TO WORK portal available here.
Once TDLWD receives a refusal to work report from an employer, the Department will investigate to determine if it should stop a claimant’s unemployment benefits.