Ohio Unemployment / Ohio Unemployment
I read your posts and I have had 2 experiences with unemployment. In 2009 the reason for my separation was changed, documentation that I submitted for UCRC appeal was never included in Director's file (I have date stamped copies from processing center that they were received). I quit my job with county commissioners because I was contacted by Federal & State agents about a investigation for fraud and I was being harassed by my employer. When I contacted ODJFS to find out why my reason for separation was changed from Quit for ethical objections to Quit for personal reasons, I was told that I would have to file an appeal to UCRC. It took 6 months for a UCRC hearing.
After 2 months of not being notified when hearing would be scheduled, I called UCRC-Richard Skovran-and was told that UCRC does over 800 hearings a week and he could not say when I could expect notification. You would think that they could schedule a hearing date in a timely manner after receiving notification that an appeal has been filed. The State Employee Directory lists 75 employees for the UC Review Commission. I was notified 2 weeks before hearing. I could not afford an attorney and could not get help thru legal aid.
The hearing was a joke. The hearing officer let the employer's attorney waste time addressing issues that did not pertain. I was not given a chance to state my case. My witness were not contacted by UCRC to be part of the telephonic hearing. After 45 minutes I was told that hearing would have to be rescheduled. When I asked the hearing officer when it would be rescheduled, she she hung up on me. After a couple minutes she called back with the employer's attorney on the line. She said that she could not tell me when it would be
rescheduled. I asked if I would be able to present my case and submit information about FBI & State BWC probe, I was told I could only state facts for the reason for separation-which ODJFS listed as personal reasons. I put the call on speakerphone and recorded it. After the hearing I found out that the Director of UCRC, Sylvester Patton, had personal and political ties to my former employer.
I could not find employment until April 2010 when I was hired by a call center. I had previously received correspondence from ODJFS for my 2009 claim that I would be eligible for unemployment after working 6 weeks in covered employment and making at least $1278 in wages. I contacted the processing center to notify them that I had become re-employed, but my hours & wages were less than my previous employer. I was told that I would have to file a new claim. I received notification from ODJFS that I did not have enough qualifying weeks from Trumbull County. I sent copies of my pay stubs and 2009 W2.
I was then told by ODJFS I was not eligible because my 2009 claim was disallowed due to quit. I also found out that they had used a 2003 claim for the weekly wages for my 2009 claim. When I asked why they used information from a six year old claim, I was told that they had to re-open that claim because there were $1296 in benefits left. When I asked why I wasn't eligible if there were benefits available from 2003, I was told that my weekly wages with West Customer Management were more than my 2003 weekly benefits.
I worked for West Customer Management from 4/18 thru 6/18. I called off on 6/23, 6/24 & 6/25 because I had shingles. It had spread to my neck and I could no longer keep it covered. I worked with pregnant women and no one had an assigned work area. We would frequently change stations during our shift to consolidate work areas.
Shingles are contagious to people who have never had chicken pox and to unborn children. I spoke to a HR rep, Pamela Hall on 6/23 and told her that I had previously had shingles and I was familiar with the symptom and complications. I could not get a Doctor's appointment until 6/29. I told her that I would fax a statement about my condition on 6/23 and also fax her an excuse from the doctor and let her know if the doctor would release me for work West Customer Management terminated my employment on 6/25 for job abandonment for not calling off/no show for 6/23-6/25. I cancelled my appointment at the Community Health Center for 6/29 because I did not have health coverage and could not afford the $75 charge without a job. They required payment at the time of service and would not bill me. I am single and do not have any other source of income.
I filed for unemployment online on 6/26. When I received new claim instructions from ODJFS, it stated my application date was 7/6. I had filed a weekly claim online for the week ending 7/3 and the confirmation number was listed online under my claim payment summary. It took 3 weeks and countless phone calls to the Director's office for anyone to recognize the fact that I could not file for
weekly benefits for the week ending 7/3 if I did not file my application prior to that date. I spoke to a supervisor at the Lima Processing Center on 7/29 and she said that they would change my application date to 6/27, even though I stated that it was Saturday, June 26th. She also reviewed the pay stubs that I submitted and confirmed that I had enough qualifying weeks from the county in 2009 as well as from West Customer Management. When I explained why I did not have an excuse from the Medical Clinic, she told me to contact them to see if they would back date an excuse. I would not ask a physician to falsify an excuse. I believed that since West had terminated my employment before I was able to provide an excuse, I would be eligible.
When I received paperwork, it listed date of application as 7/29. I took another month of phone calls for ODJFS to change the application date to 6/27. They also stated that I did not have enough qualifying weeks from the county for 2009. I sent and faxed my pay stubs numerous times since the beginning of July. It wasn't until I notified the Director's office that I had fax confirmation & mail receipt to prove that they had been sent and received the correct information. During this time an appeal was filed to the UCRC on my behalf that I did not authorize. I notified ODJFS & the UCRC that I did not file an written statement or file an online appeal. I knew that once my claim went to the UCRC for a hearing that it would take months before a hearing was scheduled and from my previous experience I didn't believe that I would get a fair or impartial hearing. Since I had provided ODJFS with copies of my pay stubs and W2, there was no need for a UCRC hearing. ODJFS had the correct information. They just had to review the information that I submitted. I requested that my file be remanded back to ODJFS so that a corrected determination could be made.
A corrected determination issued on 8/30 for the qualifying weeks, it went on to state that my claim was disallowed for unexcused absence and disregard to the employer's interest. It listed 6/18 as my date of discharge. I contacted Tonya Reese at the Redetermination Unit on 8/31 and told her that I worked on 6/18 and had a pay stub to verify. My termination date was 6/25. She said that ODJFS uses the last day worked as the date of discharge. I told her that I could not supply a doctor's excuse because I was discharged on 6/25 and my appointment was for 6/29. She stated that she spoke to Rudy Herter at West on 8/25 and he stated that I never called off and Pamela Hall stated that she never spoke to me . West listed the reason for my termination as job abandonment. I then stated that I had phone records and fax confirmation to prove that I did contact Pamela Hall directly on 6/23 and screen shots of the online employee records to show that I posted my time off hours for other employees to pick up as required.
I asked Ms. Reese why the employer did not have to submit an Eligibility Statement in writing within 45 days of my application as required by ORC 4141.28(F), she said that ODJFS is not required to contact the employer until after qualifying weeks have been established. Again, my claim was transferred to UCRC without my authorization. I requested a copy of my file. When I received the Fact Finding Statement, all of the employer questions were blank. Under the additional Employer Information it states that I did call off on 6/23, but failed to call off for 6/25. The date & time entered under the additional information is for 8/31 at 8:51am-the day after my determination was issued and after I told Ms. Reese that I had documentation to validate that West had been notified. Ms. Reese sent my claim to the UCRC for appeal, again without my written or verbal authorization.
I contacted the ODJFS Director and the UCRC that I did not file an appeal for a UCRC hearing. I wanted time to have an attorney review my documentation. I wanted to know why ORC 4141.28(F) did not apply to my claim, if a corrected Director's Redetermination could be made without filing an appeal, and if I had a valid claim for appeal. I received a call from Richard Skovran at UCRC. He stated that a if my claim was remanded back to ODJFS they could choose to ignore it. I asked him to have it sent back to ODJFS until I decided that it was in my best interest to file an appeal.
I filed an appeal to UCRC within the time frame by fax and mail on 9/22. I received a call from Deborah Gould/Redetermination Unit on 9/27. I told her that I had not authorized the previous 2 appeals before I filed on 9/22. I hoped a hearing could be avoided if Director Lumpkin's office reviewed my claim. Since the Director's office did not respond to why ORC 4141.28(F) was not followed, I chose to appeal. I requested a copy of the Director's file from UCRC and received an email stating that the UCRC closed my file and sent it back to ODJFS. Since my conversation with Ms. Gould, my online account has been changed. All Claim Summary information has been deleted and my Benefit Year has been changed to 7/4/10 thru 7/2/2011. I called UCRC on 11/8 and was put thru to the assistant director's office (Richard Skovran). I left a voicemail with my information and I have not received a call back.
In July I contacted the Inspector General's office, but was told that they only meet every 2 weeks and then choose what complaints they follow up on. I was told that they rarely investigate unemployment complaints. I continued to fax information to them to document my complaints with ODJFS. I received a letter from their office in September stating they could understand my frustration with ODJFS,
but there wasn't anything they could do about it. Phone calls and emails to Strickland's office were returned.
I recorded all conversations with ODJFS and UCRC since the beginning of July. I printed out screen shots of all my online information before ODJFS deleted it. I also recorded all weekly filing for benefit calls to the ODJFS automated system. I was ecstatic when Kasich was elected and I am looking forward to contacting him with my experiences with ODJFS and the UCRC. Lumpkin & Patton were both appointed by Strickland. From the complaints I have read online, Governor Elect Kasich needs to do a major overhaul of both agencies.
I was recently diagnosed with breast disease for the second time and will be having surgery. It was before my first bout that I had shingles for the first time. Needless to say, the stress caused by ODJFS, UCRC and financial hardship has not made this situation very easy for me. If anyone has any recourse for legal help, please contact me at [protected]@hotmail.com.
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