The backbone of the unemployment system is to provide financial relief to individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own. Because of this, separation reasons fall into two categories: Protestable and Non-Protestable.

Voluntary quits, most discharges, labor disputes and leaves of absence generally fall into the protestable category. Protestable reasons for separations are situations in which the separation was at least partially attributable to the claimant. These are the cases that should be responded to with a timely and sufficient response.

Non-protestable reasons for separations are cases in which claimants are truly unemployed through no fault of their own. The most common type of separation within this category is lack of work. This would include permanent layoffs, temporary layoffs, or even partial claims for those employees still working part time.

Job Performance Separations
Job performance separations can either be protestable or non-protestable. This is one of the more confusing, if not controversial reasons for separation. An easy way to know which type a job performance separation is, is to ask yourself if the claimant was separated because he could not do the job or because he would not do the job. How you answer this question will help determine how you proceed with the case.

Performance: Protestable

The claimant would not do the job, or the claimant chose not to perform the job.

Performance: Non-Protestable

The claimant could not do the job, or the claimant was mentally/physically unable to perform the job.


When handling cases in which a claimant chose not to perform the job, documentation is crucial to help you prove there was misconduct. Documentation to provide includes:

  • A detailed explanation of the final incident
  • Copies of prior warnings
  • Documentation to show prior ability to perform the job
    • This includes prior satisfactory performance reviews and proof of merit increases
  • A outline of specific acts of misconduct