News & Press

State Sues IBM for Failed Unemployment Computer System Overhaul

Pennsylvania – On Thursday March 9th, Governor Tom Wolfe’s Administration filed a lawsuit against IBM for breach of contract. In a public statement Governor Wolf said “Pennsylvania taxpayers paid IBM nearly $170 million for what was supposed to be a comprehensive, integrated, and modern system that it never got”. According to an Associated Press report, IBM says the claims have no merit and they plan to fight the lawsuit.

Read the full story here: http://www.dailyitem.com/the_danville_news/news/governor-sues-ibm-for-computer-overhaul-debacle/article_88137589-7c59-5d28-bdb3-98cfafadf54f.html

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Unemployment Claims Catapult Despite an Overall Healthy Job Market

In just two weeks’ time, the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits catapulted from just 20,000 to 243,000 which is well above economists’ predictions of unemployment claims coming in around 238,000. This new stat may come as a surprise since U.S. jobless claims as of March 2nd were reported to be at their lowest levels since March of 1973.

Even with this drastic increase in initial claim filings, many other economic indicators show an incredibly healthy labor market. The federal government is set to release a jobs report which could show 210,000 new jobs were created in February.

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New Unemployment Bill Proposes Paid Family Leave

Connecticut – On Wednesday March 8th, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) sponsored a lobbying event that discussed, amongst other issues, a new unemployment compensation bill. The bill proposes that employees would be eligible for 12 weeks paid family leave in a year. This paid leave would be financed by a tax on employee earnings.

The CBIA opposes the family and medical leave measure stating that it would drive up the cost of doing business in the state, while Senator Martin Looney, president pro tem of the Senate, supports the legislation as “essential to the health and well-being” of workers in Connecticut.

Proposed legislation also includes a separate measure that would raise the annual earnings threshold for collecting benefits from $600 currently to $2,000. This measure is receiving wide support from the CBIA and other Connecticut based employers.

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Unemployment Offset Determined Unlawful in Back-Pay Awards

New Jersey – A recent Appellate Court ruling  determined that a plaintiff-employee’s unemployment benefits were incorrectly credited against a verdict he obtained in a discrimination suit against his former employer.

Rex Fornaro was formerly employed as a flight instructor with Flightsafety International Inc. After his termination, he collected unemployment for 11 months. An Essex County jury awarded $83,000 in back pay, and Superior Court Judge Francine Schott reduced that award by $14,000, which represented half the unemployment benefits the state had paid him. In her decision, Judge Francine Schott noted this was a fair adjustment since both an employer and employee pay into unemployment benefits.

The decision was appealed and in the Appellate Court decision, Judge Susan Reisner wrote: “We hold that the collateral source statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:15-97, does not apply to [New Jersey Law Against Discrimination] cases, and we find no other basis on which to deduct unemployment compensation from back pay awarded under the LAD,”

The panel also relied on federal jurisprudence, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1951 decision in NLRB v. Gullett Gin, where the court held that the National Labor Relations Act mandates that unemployment benefits are not to be deducted from back pay awards.

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Former Executive Receives Unemployment after Alleged Ethics Violations were Unfounded

New Haven, CT – After initially being denied unemployment benefits in September 2015, Nichole Jefferson, former Executive Director of the Commission on Equal Opportunities, has won the city’s second appeal of unemployment benefits. 

Principal Appeals Referee Arnold J. Perrotta of the Employment Security Appeals Division of the state Department of Labor, who reversed the initial ruling against Jefferson said the city’s case “had all the markings of a witch hunt” and found there was a “huge disparity between the allegations and the facts.”

An FBI investigation also found no evidence of the alleged ethics violations.

Read more about this interesting case here: http://www.nhregister.com/government-and-politics/20170306/new-haven-loses-second-appeal-of-unemployment-benefits-for-fired-official 

 

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Drug Tests and Unemployment Compensation

The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 42), sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) expressing disapproval of a Labor Department rule restricting state government from requiring drug testing for those applying for unemployment compensation. The vote, on Feb. 15, was 236-189 nays.

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Meghan Avery Promoted to Director of Operations

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Unemployment Tax Control Associates, Inc. (UTCA), a national unemployment insurance service provider based in Springfield, Mass., with an office in Boston, today announced the promotion of Meghan Avery to director of operations. The announcement was made by Tim Phelan, chief legal counsel & vice president of client services.

Ms. Avery draws expertise from her undergraduate studies at Hofstra University and brings nearly a decade of professional experience to UTCA, six of which were gleaned in-house. Meghan joined the team as senior analyst in 2011, quickly advancing to lead analyst and next, client services manager, before her most current promotion.

As Director of Operations, she will oversee client services and all aspects of the claims department, management education and sales functions. Ms. Avery will manage key areas of the operational budget and employee development. Additionally, liaising with the CEO and Director of Finance, she will be tasked with deliverables related to the company’s financial objectives, profitability and alignment of corporate strategic goals.

“Meghan’s promotion is certainly well-deserved. In addition to commendable qualifications and experience, she has demonstrated success in-house relative to operational performance,” explained Phelan. “Drawing on her expertise in the cost management area of our business, Meghan’s talents have supported the growth of UTCA, furthering the company’s ability to effectively speak to our value proposition. She is a rising star at UTCA and embodies our mission of providing the best service in the industry focusing on the client, first and foremost.”

See Coverage in Business West:

Meghan Avery Promoted at Unemployment Tax Control Associates

 

 

 

 

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Does a Low Unemployment Rate Equal Higher Wages?

With the national unemployment rate remaining below 5 percent, many wonder if pay rates will increase as businesses begin competing for available skilled workers. According to Marcia Miceli, Professor of Management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, the answer depends on a variety of factors.

Read the discussion here: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/319523-falling-unemployment-leads-to-rising-wages-right-not-so

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Employee Forced to Quit Receives Favorable Ruling

Connecticut – A 60-year-old nurse who was employed at a facility specializing in short and long term rehabilitation, left her job after 29 years of employment due to an adverse change in her work duties. She was initially hired to work with patients who needed minimal assistance but was later required to work with patients who were paralyzed, a transition that significantly increased the amount of physical work required from her.

The employer fought the claimant when she sought unemployment benefits and the unemployment compensation administrator sided with them stating the claimant “voluntarily left suitable work without good cause attributable to her employer.” A referee affirmed the administrator’s ruling, but the Board of Review sided with the employee. According to attorneys specializing in labor and employment law, “this ruling is part of a growing trend benefiting Connecticut employees.”

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U.S Unemployment Claims Continue to Fall

According to the U.S Labor Department, initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 246,000 for the week ending Jan. 28, 2017. Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 100 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller.

Read more here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-jobless-claims-fall-more-expected-last-week-133349063.html 

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