The Department of Labor in New Jersey is being sued for using a “deliberate strategy” to deny unemployed workers benefits. The lawsuit claims that over 10,000 people have been harassed and denied unemployment benefits do to the underhanded tactics of the DoL.
Ranulfo Postrero, a laid-off worker, represented by Alan H. Schorr & Associates, is suing the New Jersey DoL after they say it “turned a deaf ear on our complaints.” The lawsuit notes several strategies the DoL used to keep benefits from unemployed workers, including not informing claimants they may seek legal representation.
“…a deliberate strategy by the Department of Labor to deprive unemployment claimants representation by legal counsel of their choice. Over the past few years, the Department of Labor has deliberately removed from claimant notices a statement advising that they had the right to counsel. Yet, all employers still receive such a notice.”
Once workers are forced to deal with the DoL without proper legal counsel, the claim states they are interviewed and asked “questions that elicit responses that unwittingly disqualify unrepresented claimants.” And without proper representation they are likely none-the-wiser to their “mistake”.
Postrero and his lawyers insist that thousands of claims were unjustly denied because of these leading interviews.
“According to DOL statistics provided via an OPRA request during the fiscal year of July 2012-June 2013 alone 47,560 appeals were taken from initial unemployment decisions made by the Department of Labor. Over 13,000 of those initial decisions denying benefits were found on appeal to be incorrect.”
It’s bad enough when so many corporations are willing to screw over workers, but when the Department of Labor is doing it too there’s really something wrong. Though I suppose it’s no surprise when the current head of the DoL, Harold Wirths, was appointed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, the king of underhanded politics.