You're Fired then Company Sics Attorney Dogs on You to Deny Unemployment Compensation

A New York Times article headline flashes Contesting Jobless Claims Becomes a Boom Industry. Yup, that's right, corporations fire people and then hire attorneys, who are assuredly expensive, just to deny you your merger unemployment check.

With a client list that reads like a roster of Fortune 500 firms, a little-known company with an odd name, the Talx Corporation, has come to dominate a thriving industry: helping employers process — and fight — unemployment claims.

Talx, which emerged from obscurity over the last eight years, says it handles more than 30 percent of the nation’s requests for jobless benefits. Pledging to save employers money in part by contesting claims, Talx helps them decide which applications to resist and how to mount effective appeals.

Why do companies do this, and add insult to injury? Because for each claim, their insurance rates goes up.

How can companies get away with this? By claiming the firing is the worker's fault. Nice, so on top of losing your job, you are blamed for it.

Obviously there are some instances where the worker is to blame, such as embezzlement or criminal behavior and so on. But that's just not the reason these companies go to court to stop you from getting unemployment benefits. Those workers who really did something egregiously wrong, are few and far between.

The New York Times cites this case:

Gerald Grenier, 47, who spent four years as a night janitor at a New Hampshire Wal-Mart and was fired for pocketing several dollars in coins from a vending machine. Mr. Grenier, who is mentally disabled, told Wal-Mart he forgot to turn in the change. Talx, representing Wal-Mart, accused him of misconduct and fought his unemployment claim.

After Mr. Grenier waited three months for a hearing, Wal-Mart did not appear. A Talx agent joined by phone, then seemingly hung up as Mr. Grenier testified. The hearing officer redialed and left an unanswered message on the agent’s voice mail. The officer called Mr. Grenier “completely credible” and granted him benefits.

Talx appealed, claiming that the officer had denied the agent’s request to let Wal-Mart testify by phone. (A recording of the hearing contains no such request.) Mr. Grenier won the appeal, but by then he had lost his apartment and moved in with his sister.

How many unemployment claims are denied? You're not going to believe this figure, I saw quoted, as high as 60 percent, national average.

Getting accurate data on what the rate of denial of benefits is, nationwide, of all those who file a claim, is amazingly difficult. It seems the DOL will not let these records be public. There are two programs, a BAM and a DCA, which one could derive the figure, but after searching high and low, I could not locate the raw statistics. Believe this or not, the DOL website was password protected.

Fortunately we have a researcher, Economist Waye Vroman, who did manage to dig out some statistics and facts.

From this overview post, with data from 2007, we have a 26% disputed claim rate when they are otherwise valid and eligible. Remember, it's 2010, not 2007, and very obviously trying to deny someone unemployment benefit is on the rise, from the horror stories and press reports.



From this study in 1999, the denial rate was 27.4%:

Of the 14.8 million ``monetarily eligible'' initial UC claims in 1999, 27.4 percent were disqualified. This figure subdivides into 4.9 percent not being able to work or available for work, 7.3 percent voluntarily leaving a job without good cause, 4.9 percent being fired for misconduct on the job, 0.3 percent refusing suitable work, and 10.1 percent committing other disqualifying acts. The total disqualification rate ranged from a low of 11.0 percent in Kentucky to a high of 94.9 percent in Nebraska, with Colorado the next highest at 86.8 percent.

From Florida:

In 2009, about 51 percent of all claims were denied and 49 percent were approved. In 2008, 53 percent of claims were denied and 47 approved.

According to this overview, about 30% are denied.

Interesting huh?

Where I live, I started hearing about the local grocery, firing people for absolutely trivial or non-existent reasons, then sending attorneys to court, all to deny them unemployment benefits. Can you imagine that? You show up to work, do your best, get fired over something trivial and then have to fight a team of lawyers to try to receive unemployment when there are no new jobs out there? Attorneys charge $150 an hour and up. You're broke, trying to get an unemployment check, not even close to your salary in amount. Can you afford a $300 an hour lawyer to help you out? I didn't think so.



Oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg

I just finished writing a forthcoming policy paper on the need to fix our Unemployment Insurance system (which I will post when it's published by New America) and there's some really shady shit that employers get up to. The worst case I heard about was this cement company where the boss would fire people, call them up the next day and say "hey can you come into work today" (specifically not saying, by the way, I've just offered you a job) and then when upset people understandably tell him to go to hell, turn around and deny UI benefits on the grounds that that constitutes a refusal of bona fide employment offers. 

This constitutes tax evasion and tax fraud in my opinion, and I'd love to see the DoJ and the DoL go after these bosses.

One more reason why we need to rebuild our social insurance system.

sure is!

although some of the solutions I've seen have little to do with the U.S. workforce, middle class and a whole lot to do with some globalist agenda thing.

But I agree, FDR's second bill of rights, I mean just basic employment law being enforced would be nice.

Age discrimination is brazen, institutionalized, we see foreign guest workers displacing U.S. workers for over a decade now, they don't do a damn thing about it...there is a host of things and even the sacrosanct must pay the wages for hours worked pay, the DOL is ignoring it...
so people are not even getting paid when they are W-2 (and it is oh so much worse in any other situation of money for work/services exchange).

In start-ups, they would fire people right before they vested, so they did not have to give them stock options. Very common to intimidate people upon firing and deny UI on top of it. (with threats of suing them if they dared do anything). No severance at all and these are professional jobs.

then firing people before they hit a certain level in matching retirement funds (as an example) or even health benefits.

83% of all freelancers are stiffed and that's really bad for there is no safety net, no recourse hardly at all.

But this situation, I mean come on, attorneys are not cheap and can it possibly be cheaper to sick the attorney dogs than pay the increased unemployment insurance premiums?

I keep thinking of the Christians in arena with the lions in Rome.

Which is yet another issue, meritocracy has gone out the window and I compare the work life of most Americans to Schindler's List.

A Peoples' Justice

Simply another reason why it is the height of naivete to imagine that parliamentary remedies should ever be contemplated for such maggots. These folks are on the same level with debt collectors and can you imagine the likelihood of any change in the relative power of these filth to the average person short of wholesale system change? You'll know justice has finally arrived when the people have shut down the operation of every Talx office in the country and its officers and stockholders face public trial in some gigantic football stadium environment.

NDD right - everyone else wrong?

New Deal Democrat over at Bondadd has no humility today. He is really bragging about how he has been right and the rest of “blogisphere” has been wrong about predicting the happy conditions of the economy.

Heaven knows, he always has plenty of numbers and graphs, so I’m wondering what the quantitative bloggers on this site have to say about the current ‘happy times” that he predicted and virtually everyone else like EP was wrong?

This is not a rhetorical question implying that I agree with NDD or criticizing others like EP . Apart from his ego, he is a challenging analyst and should not be ignored by those who disagree.

that's just on initial unemployment claims

and his post is wrong. The U.S. has not added jobs until this month, March, not the other months he is claiming. In March, 74k only were permanent. 445k initial monthly claims might make a case for one month, but for myself, I don't like the initial weekly unemployment claims as a metric at all and the reason is it's revised continually including 5 years of data was revised over a non-published adjustment last week.

Frankly I don't read bonddad and for one they tried to slander this site, severely, which is pretty ridiculous. But the fiction on trade is enough to not read it. Drawing lines with photoshop and trying to claim that's a regression analysis or least squares, as a math head, now that drives me nuts too.

But getting a little more analytical on the above, the U.S. needs anywhere from 84k to 300k (estimates vary) of new jobs each month just to keep up with increasing population.

To wit, unemployment is all relative and is measured against the civilian workforce totals. Those have increased, so taking absolute numbers on anything, not scaled to the workforce, is a statistical mistake in my view. I didn't really read the non-debate debate but off the top of my head, comparing a flat number from 1982, an absolute number to 2010 is a mistake because the population is much larger, hence absolutes would of course be larger, so unless things are scaled, normalized, relative to civilian workforce population size, well, it's an argument I wouldn't enter because I do not believe one is comparing apples to apples.

What's the bottom line here? See my post on unemployment and America needs some damn jobs, lots of jobs, tons of jobs and they need them right now.....and pretty much all economists are predicting they are not going to get them.

That is unacceptable and frankly as I noted yesterday in the ISM services report, I think the DOL needs to breath down these businesses neck and enforce labor laws in part at this point for it appears who is left is being worked like a dog and because the unemployment rate is so high, no one dares "whistle blow" at their jobs or quit.

As far as the need to be "right" and call out those who were "wrong", I don't really get what that's all about.

NDD more arrogant by not different

Good points. First, I think it is just plain sophomoric and silly to keep saying “I’m Right” and “Your Wrong”. The main problem I have with the jobs data is that it is only ‘quantitative’ and there is no ‘qualitative’ analysis. Thus, a person in a given month loses a full-time 40,000 / year job with benefits shows up as a ‘job lost’ data point. Some months later that person takes a $15,000 / year part-time job with no benefits and shows up as a job gain’ data point. Jobs data appears to be a ‘zero sum game’; but, in terms of ‘standard of living’, clearly its not. More generally, I don’t see much ‘standard of living’ analysis.

Another example of the ‘numbers game’ is “state tax revenues”. Back on 4/1 NDD was boasting about how he predicted they would go up before anyone else did and they did and that’s another sign of ‘happy economic times’. One wonders if revenues are going up why are there so many news stories about states on the verge of bankruptcy and unions being forces to renegotiate contracts and pensions of state workers being criticized, cuts in services,…etc. The problem is that revenues lend themselves to database aggregations and analysis. There is no systematic way to analyze states in “crisis”. Crisis is a qualitative term. Yet it is a real descriptor of economic phenomena. It’s like ‘families in crisis” how does one do systematic statistical analysis of that economic phenomena.

Then, of course, there is the whole business of ‘causality’. Statistics gives us correlations. Correlations are a necessary condition of causality but not sufficient. And, if we don’t know the cause of economic phenomena we can not explain and change the phenomena. So we have the great debate about China exchange rates with eloquent correlations and theories by Nobel Prize economist Krugman. But, I remember eloquent correlations and theories about our national accounts put forth by Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman and look where that got us.

In short, it seems to me that NDD is not alone in playing what I call the ‘zero sum number’s game’ (i.e. “lies, damn lies and statistics’) just one of the more arrogant.

well, tell him that

directly. Also, remember EP is a community site so anyone can write up a blog post, as long as it's credible, cited, factual, well written and formatted.

Which leads me to your point and I really agree with you and I need to take some time out to see if we can guesstimate better those who are counted as "employed" but in fact lost their career jobs and are now working for $10/hr somewhere.

This has happened significantly in STEM and those are Professional jobs. I know a good 50% of all tech workers in Silicon valley during the dot con bust were wiped out, forever, from that career.

As far as NDD goes, ya know they tried to slander and hurt EP, it really pissed me off and made the whole lot of them "person non grata" on our site.

That said, there is so much missing data frankly from our government on the true state of the economy, I'd like to pull my hair out. If we can have GPS units to locate everyone w/in 3 ft (military), and the ability to turn a car off remotely or real time data track someone as they use their various credit and debit cards and even run real time behavioral profiling and personalized "advertisements" spewn at them, I do believe we could get some more detailed and accurate real time statistics on the economy here.

I think that would assist with the spin so so often we see the spin come from either headlines, incorrectly data analysis, interpretation and missing data itself.

Census Hiring

Some of the positive numbers is coming from short term census hiring which when it ends will only exacerbate the numbers by late summer adding in people who were removed from the bogus stats when they ran the length of their benefits. We all know when your benefits run out you magically become employed.

Wait for the end of the Fed mortgage bond buying program to have its effects on the housing market also.

Also if China does raise the Yuan soon watch the 'Walmart effect' go the other way and slow any recovery.

Plus with oil near $90 a barrel and headed higher for summer one or two Gulf hurricanes which we have avoided will tip us right back to full tilt recession.

In other words we are teetering and there is no strong recovery underway here.

Lord I hope I am wrong though. Summer is my money season and without a lot of new spending there isn't much there.

Record Number of Homeless

Record Number of Homeless in Rhode Island

Along with our 12.7% unemployment I'd say evidence such as this fairly well refutes the charts and graphs of the NDD et all. Especially since the U6 here is about 20% which still excludes the long term out of the 'statistical loop' people.

Winter is over also so a lot of homeless that arrange to be arrested for the winter months (3 squares and a cot) will be released to wander the streets looking for a home also. A sad but true fact.

Time for some Justice..... real justice ..... personal justice

time to introduce some subhuman vampire lawyers to reality....
I'm sure a stake or two would bring them back to the real world.