(c) 2019 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Equifax Battles Unemployed Workers

Today's guest author is Jon Rehm, Esq. of the Nebraska bar.

According to USA Today, thanks to a data breach that effected 143 million Americans, credit reporting company Equifax is the most hated corporation in America. 

But if you think the data breach was bad, just wait until you hear what Equifax does with unemployment claims. 

In 2012 Equifax acquired TALX (pronounced “talks”) which helps employers process unemployment claims. In 2010, the New York Times did some good reporting about how TALX helped delay and even deny unemployment benefits to unemployed workers during the height of the Great Recession with questionable appeals and other tactics. At that time, TALX processed unemployment claims for employers comprising up to 30 percent of the workforce. 

But even as memories of the Great Recession fade from media consciousness, TALX is still up its old tricks as a division of Equifax. The silver lining to the Equifax/TALX dark cloud for newly unemployed is if an employee appeals a denial of unemployment and Equifax/TALX is handling the claim, there is a good chance that Equifax/TALX will not appear for the unemployment appeal hearing. 

The mere fact Equifax/TALX no shows a hearing doesn’t automatically mean an employee wins their unemployment appeal in Nebraska. According to 224 NAC 01 014, an employee appealing a determination still must present evidence as to why the determination was incorrect. This is true whether the employee was alleged to have quit or was fired. The quit/fired distinction is important as the employee has the burden to prove they quit for good cause while the employer has the burden of proof to show the they fired the employee for misconduct in connection with employment. 

In my experience with uncontested unemployment appeals, the quit/fired distinction is less important than it is in a contested hearing. The problem for many employees though is that they don’t appeal their determination within the 20 day period allowed under Nebraska law. Additionally some employees could avoid an initial denial of benefits if they would better communicate with the Nebraska Department of Labor about their unemployment claim. 

Sometimes newly unemployed workers do things to undermine their right to receive unemployment, but I refuse to scapegoat ordinary people when a corporation like Equifax is actively working against unemployed workers pursing unemployment insurance. 

See also:
Taxi cab driver awarded workers compensation benefits

Employment Status: Common Law Tests May Need an Update

The Internet Redefines Jurisdiction

Is Social Insurance in Our Nation's Future?

NJDOL Alerts CPA;s About Employee Misclassification

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