The unemployment advisory council and the Department of Workforce Development are holding a public hearing tomorrow, 13 November 2014, to take comments on unemployment law. The hearing will be in the afternoon and early evening from 2:30 to 4:30 and 5:30 to 7 PM.
In Madison, the location for the hearing will be:
The Pyle Center
702 Langdon Street
Check the DWD website for other locations. If you want to say something about how the state is handling unemployment law, here is your opportunity. See you there.
Back in July 2014, I noted that the the unemployment clinic I help manage was experiencing a notable decline in clientèle.
The clinic is now happy to report today that the Department of Workforce Development has taken significant steps to correct the issue and that clinic attendance is returning to normal as a result.
At the unemployment clinic I help manage, there has been a marked drop in attendance the past few months. Supervising attorneys and law students alike have been trying to figure out what is going on.
Well the clinic finally got an answer. Essentially, the Department of Workforce Development stopped sending to claimants in Dane County the one-page notices about the unemployment clinic that they previously received with their notification of appeal. Now, all that claimants receive is a flier telling them to go to a website for information about unemployment issues (the on-line only handbook was previously noted here). As the post explains, claimants have to click on several links that are in no way obvious to find a new handout describing the free legal assistance in unemployment cases available from the clinic.
With the fire in the GEF-1 building, DWD has had to relocate staffers to other DWD buildings and operations. It appears that the closure will last several weeks. While unemployment hearings should continue as scheduled, processing of new claims and investigations of issues will most likely be delayed as new operating procedures and facilities get put into place.
For updates, DWD has set up the following web page with info for employees. It appears that employees should have most of the work files and personal information out of GEF-1 by the close of business today, Tuesday, May 27th.
UPDATE (12 June 2014): Most of the info at the DWD emergency website has been removed.
But, here is a PDF of what the website looked like on 27 May 2014. The PDF has key information about where DWD offices have been relocated since the closure of GEF-1 that is now no longer publicly available.
News today from the Wisconsin State Journal is that the City Council has approved making the unemployed a protected class during the hiring processes. Details and the actual text are here.
That means that an employer who refuses to consider an applicant to a job because of that applicant’s unemployment status will now be actionable. A job applicant can bring a claim with the Madison Equal Opportunity Commission for discrimination and possible back pay from the potential date of hire.
Proving that this kind of discrimination has occurred is not easy. But, at least when it does occur, the unemployed in Madison have some recourse against unfair treatment.