Blog roundup: Drug testing for unemployment benefits is law by Facebook meme

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Some of my blogging is based off reacting to what other bloggers write. I read two posts from other midwestern bloggers that merit some quick discussion.

Wisconsin Unemployment Blog — The United States Department of Labor published a new rule allowing states to drug test unemployment applicants. This is dumb for a lot of reasons.

Drug testing as a condition receiving a government benefits is essentially making law based on the memes shared by your aunt or uncle on Facebook. When some states tried drug testing for government benefits, the amount of positive results was minimal and the cost of drug testing far exceeded the savings in denying benefits.

Secondly, this policy assumes unemployment is welfare or an unearned benefit. This is false, employers have to pay unemployment taxes. So employees can only receive benefits if employers have paid benefits on their behalf.

Finally conditioning receipt of unemployment benefits on conduct not connected with employment, undercuts the whole idea of unemployment insurance. I’ve written earlier that I believe that unemployment insurance is one of the strongest and most overlooked factors pushing against the influence of the employment at-will doctrine. Drug testing unemployment applicants weakens those protections.

Ohio Employer’s Blog — For the sake of my employment law practice, maybe I should emulate Bo Pelini and move from Nebraska to Ohio.   Ohio has no exhaustion of remedies requirements and a six-year statute of limitations on discrimination claims. Another Jon, Jon Hyman, thinks this is terrible and is glad Ohio is considering legislation to shorten statute of limitations on employment law claims in Ohio and require administrative filings in discrimination cases.

In my view, exhaustion of remedies amounts to private sovereign immunity for employers. Forcing employees to file administrative charges can also lead to severe delays in investigating claims if civil rights agencies are underfunded. While it is true that civil rights agencies can helps settle or conciliate claims, my experience is that it helps to do some investigation before conciliating or settling a claim. If claims aren’t being investigated conciliation is often futile. Secondly conciliation often takes considerable staff time that could be better used in investigating cases

The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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