Conventional understanding of unemployment benefits leads to the logical conclusion that when employees are capable of working and offered suitable employment, they are not entitled to collect unemployment benefits. But like many other things in the post-COVID-19 world, conventional thinking no longer rules the day.

Last week, on June 16, 2020, Gov. DeWine issued an Executive Order addressing unemployment benefits eligibility during the COVID-19 epidemic. It provides that when an employee is called back to work in the same position as before the Director of Health’s special orders, there is a presumption that the position is considered “suitable work” under the Ohio unemployment insurance program. However, an employee may refuse to return to work and still be eligible for unemployment compensation if “good cause” exists for the refusal.
Continue Reading When can an employee in Ohio refuse to return to work and still get unemployment?

Ohio Governor Michael DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted recently announced that the state has expanded unemployment compensation benefits to workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19. By way of background, Ohio’s unemployment insurance system provides 50 percent of a qualifying worker’s former average weekly pay, subject to caps based on the number of dependents in the household.

Governor DeWine has issued an executive order that expands unemployment benefits related to COVID-19. Moreover, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has published a series of questions and answers related to the order. Here are the highlights:
Continue Reading Ohio expands unemployment compensation protections in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Unfortunately, my law partner Mike Underwood was correct when he predicted in his February 1, 2008 post  “Building a Model for a Defensible Reduction-in-Force,” that economic challenges in the current economy may result in more reductions in force. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report for May showed 67 dismissals of groups of 50 or more employees in Ohio. This figure was nearly double the amount of such terminations in May ’07, when the Bureau reported 34 dismissals of 50 or more. Overall, Ohio unemployment claims have more than doubled to 7,621 from 3,350 a year ago, earning Ohio the dubious ranking of having among the top 10 highest volumes of claims in the United States.

Mike’s February post described some key steps to keep in mind when faced with downsizing decisions. Here are few more:


Continue Reading Tough Times, Tough Decisions for Ohio Employers