The following would be shocking, were it not for our Darwinian knowledge that all species (including Man) will reliably react in accordance to survival techniques.
Out of Work and Challenged on Benefits, Too
In Record Numbers, Employers Move to Block Unemployment Payouts
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 12, 2009; A01
It’s hard enough to lose a job. But for a growing proportion of U.S. workers, the troubles really set in when they apply for unemployment benefits.
More than a quarter of people applying for such claims have their rights to the benefit challenged as employers increasingly act to block payouts to former workers.
The proportion of claims disputed by former employers and state agencies has reached record levels in recent years, according to the Labor Department numbers tallied by the Urban Institute.
Under state and federal laws, employees who are fired for misbehavior or quit voluntarily are ineligible for unemployment compensation. When jobless claims are blocked, employers save money because their unemployment insurance rates are based on the amount of the benefits their workers collect.
As unemployment rolls swell in the recession, many workers seem surprised to find their benefits challenged, their former bosses providing testimony against them. On one recent morning in what amounts to one of Maryland’s unemployment courts, employees and employers squared off at conference tables to rehash reports of bad customer service, anger management and absenteeism.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kenneth M. Brown, who lost his job as a hotel electrician in October.
He began collecting benefits of $380 a week but then discovered that his former employer, the owners of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, were appealing to block his unemployment benefits. The hotel alleged that he had been fired for being deceptive with a supervisor.
. . . After a Post reporter turned up at the hearing, the hotel’s representative withdrew the appeal and declined to comment. A hotel spokesperson later said the company does not comment on legal matters. Brown will continue to collect benefits, which he, his wife and three young children rely on to make monthly mortgage payments on their Upper Marlboro home.
Somehow or another, we have come to believe that Unemployment Compensation is a government program. But it’s not. That only happens in socialistic societies and we all know that ‘socialism’ is one of the forbidden isms, like communism.
Only capitalism gets a break from that unfortunate (and entirely misinterpreted) label.
Unemployment Comp, by the way, is taxable income. You may lose the job and be on the ropes, but Uncle Sam still wants his cut.
(Wikipedia) Unemployment insurance is a federal-state program jointly financed through federal and state employer payroll taxes (federal and state UI taxes). Generally, employers must pay both state and federal unemployment taxes if:
(1) they pay wages to employees totaling $1500 or more in any quarter of a calendar year; or,
(2) they had at least one employee during any day of a week during 20 weeks in a calendar year, regardless of whether the weeks were consecutive. However, some state laws differ from the federal law.
Anyway, it’s a partial cost to businesses, just as the employer-share of social security is a shared rate and company contribution rates go up according to how many employees actually file.
Apparently, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center wasn’t in the least bit shy about lying in order to keep their rates from increasing. Until a newspaper showed up. Then they suddenly became conscience-stricken.
Interestingly, conscience plays absolutely no part in survival of the species. So, there you have it.