COBRA notice - what if employee is missing, wherabouts unknown?

One of our employees has not been seen or heard from since July 26. We tried calling his home, the phone has been disconnected. None of the other workers knows what happened to him. I even checked the county listing of inmates at the local jails - no luck .This employee has family dental coverage.We have decided to terminate him as of August 31st . How do I notify the employee of COBRA coverage if we are not even sure where he is ???


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  • You make a good faith effort to reach the employee and his family by mailing the COBRA notification using a certificate of mailing or certified mail. If the notices return to you, at least you tried. Put the returned notice in his personnel file, as well as, any notes you made when you made your various attempts to locate him.
  • There was a recent 5th Circuit case (federal court of appeals that covers Texas), where this exact thing happened.

    The employer certified mailed the COBRA notice to the last known address of the employee. The employee had moved w/o informing the employer. The employee then got in an accident and sued the employer for failure to extend COBRA notice.

    The court said that the employer fullfilled its duty by mailing the notice by certified mail to the last known address. Even though the employer knew that the employee did not recieve the notice (because it was returned), the court said that it was the employee's duty to tell the employer about a new address and the employer did not have to hunt him down.

    Therefore, you need to send it to the last address the employee gave you. Even if it comes back returned, you should be OKAY.

    Good Luck!
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