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Unemployment Requests From Former Employees

Have you received a Request for Information or Unemployment Award Decision from the a state unemployment agency for an employee who left your employ weeks or months ago? With the dramatic rise of unemployment filings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are receiving unemployment decisions or requests for employment information for former employees who have not been employed by them for a great period of time. 

Under most state unemployment laws, employers can be liable for a former employee’s unemployment benefits up to a year from departure of employment. The standard principles governing an employer’s liability for unemployment benefits continue to control these former employee situations. Meaning, if the employer terminated the employee without just cause or previously laid the employee off in the last year, the employer will likely be liable for the former employee’s unemployment benefits up to a year after departure, even if the employee started new employment immediately after departure.

On the other hand, if for example your former employee resigned or quit employment to take a position with a new employer or to move away, the employer will likely be able to avoid unemployment liability by responding to the information request and providing that the employee resigned or quit on their own accord. The same conclusion also holds true if you terminated the former employee for just cause.

In all cases, regardless of the reason for departure, the former employer will receive a request for information from an unemployment commission as employees have to list all employers over the last year. Therefore, employers must complete and timely respond to these requests for information, including the details surrounding the departure. Employers should include all relevant information as well, including resignation letters/emails or handbook provisions that have been violated leading to a termination. 

If an unemployment commission ultimately holds you, as the former employer, liable for unemployment benefits, it is important that you timely appeal these decisions, including all supporting legal and factual arguments and documents. Otherwise, even as the former employer, you will remain liable for up to 100% of the unemployment benefits award to the former employee.

Bryan Meek is a member of Brennan, Manna & Diamond’s Labor & Employment team and is available to assist you with responding to requests for information and/or appealing unfavorable unemployment decisions. Bryan can be reached at 330.253.5586, or bmeek@bmdllc.com.

Update: President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020

On June 3, 2020, Congress updated the CARES Act by passing the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (“FA”). The legislation, which has not yet been signed into law by President Trump, would provide more flexibility to small businesses who received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).

Workers’ Compensation Claims and COVID-19

Can one of my employees file a workers’ compensation claim if they claim that they contracted coronavirus at work? We get that question a lot. Yes, they can, but you should oppose any application for coverage if you receive one. Generally, the claim will not be granted unless the employee has a job that poses a special hazard or risk of exposure to the virus and the employee can prove that he or she contracted the virus at work.

Ohio State Dental Board Implements Teledentistry Rules

Ohio law defines “teledentistry” as the delivery of dental services through the use of synchronous, real-time communication and the delivery of services of a dental hygienist or expanded function dental auxiliary pursuant to a dentist’s authorization.[1] The law requires a dentist who desires to provide dental services through teledentistry to apply for a teledentistry permit from the Ohio State Dental Board (“OSDB”).[2] Pursuant to the mandate under Ohio Revised Code 4715.436, the OSDB is implementing the following teledentistry permit rules and requirements (to be set forth under Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4715-23). These regulations, which were subject of a public hearing on February 19, 2020, are effective on May 30, 2020.

HHS Addresses Drug Manufacturer Coupons on Out-of-Pocket Limits

On May 7, 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced their Notice of Benefit Parameters for 2021 in which HHS addressed the application of prescription drug manufacturer copay coupons towards a patient’s out-of-pocket limit. Under this guidance, HHS will permit, but not require, plans and insurers to count direct support offered to enrollees by drug manufacturers (i.e., coupons) for specific prescription drugs toward the annual limits on cost-sharing, regardless of whether a generic equivalent is available.

Important Updates, Deadlines, and Clarifications for the HHS Provider Relief Funds

On May 20, 2020, HHS made important updates and clarifications regarding the General Distribution payments to providers. Between April 10, 2020 and April 24, 2020, HHS distributed an initial $30 billion to providers based on the provider’s 2019 Medicare fee-for-service receipts. These funds were distributed automatically and providers did not need to submit an application in order to receive these funds. The funds were originally touted as a “no strings attached” stimulus payment reserved for healthcare providers. But HHS issued a 10-page Terms and Conditions and required that providers sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the Terms and Conditions.