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(1) The department shall determine an employer forfeited the right to participate as an interested party in the adjudication of an unemployment insurance claim when the employer:

(a) fails to respond within eight days of a department request for information related to a claimant's wage, employment, separation and eligibility for benefits, in accordance with ARM 24.11.450A; or

(b) fails to provide an adequate response to a relevant and material question regarding a claim for benefits posed by the department.

(2) For the purpose of this rule, "adequate response" means an accurate and complete answer by an employer to each relevant and material question posed by the department. Examples of employer responses, which the department may determine to be inadequate, include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) answering a relevant and material department question with "not applicable" or "unknown at this time";

(b) failing to submit copies of written employee discipline or details of verbal employee discipline when the employer alleges misconduct;

(c) neglecting to provide a detailed description, upon request, of the final incident that triggered the claimant's separation from employment;

(d) failing to provide written statements by a workplace witness when requested by the department; or

(e) failing to provide a copy of the employer's rule or policy when employer alleges claimant was discharged for violation of the rule or policy.

(3) The department shall provide written notice to the employer of a determination that the employer forfeited the right to participate as an interested party to the adjudication of a claim. Following the employer's forfeiture, the employer may participate as an informational witness only.

(4) An employer may appeal the department's determination in accordance with the procedures of 39-51-2402, MCA, and ARM 24.11.450A.

(5) The employer and the department are the only interested parties to the adjudication of an employer's forfeit of interested party status.

(6) The department may rescind the employer's forfeit of interested party status only when good cause is demonstrated, as defined by ARM 24.11.204. The employer bears the burden of showing good cause for the employer's untimely or inadequate response.

(7) When an employer forfeits interested party status in the adjudication of a particular claim, the employer also forfeits the following:

(a) the right to appeal a department decision regarding the adjudication of that benefit claim; and

(b) the right to credit for a benefit overpayment created by the employer's untimely or inadequate response.

History: 39-51-301, 39-51-302, MCA; IMP, 39-51-605, MCA; NEW, 2013 MAR p. 2144, Eff. 11/15/13

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