Archive for Unemployment compensation

Apply for unemployment compensation

If you are without a class during summer term, apply for unemployment compensation online at the ODJFS website.

Help with your unemployment compensation claim

Excerpt from Sarah Phillips' letter

Excerpt from Sarah Hall Phillips’ letter

Email us to join today’s Filing Party online, by phone

Send us an email at optfa@newfacultymajority.info if you would like to join the OPTFA Pre-Holiday Unemployment Compensation Filing Party, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, Dec. 18, either online or by phone. Once we get your email, we will log into the meeting where we can walk you through the unemployment compensation filing process online and answer any questions you may have.

It’s the holiday season: File for unemployment

Get in the holiday spirit and and join your colleagues in filing for unemployment compensation at the OPTFA Pre-Holiday Unemployment Compensation Filing Party, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

We’ll serve cookies, beverages and pizza as we walk you through the unemployment steve street unemployment compensation initiativecompensation filing process online and answer any questions you may have.

Who can file

You can file for unemployment benefits once fall term is over if you are unemployed and you do not have reasonable assurance of continued employment for next term. It is important to file as soon as the term is over so that you can qualify for the maximum number of benefit weeks between terms. Plus, if the class or classes you have been assigned to teach for spring are cancelled due to lack of enrollment, you will then be in a position to receive unemployment benefits retroactively.

Filing Party locations

In person

We will meet at the office of New Faculty Majority and the OPTFA in Copley Commons, 2830 Copley Rd., Suite 26, Copley, Ohio 44321.

By phone or online

1. Please join my meeting.

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/296615981

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (267) 507-0017
Access Code: 296-615-981
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 296-615-981

RSVP: to optfa@newfacultymajority.info

State Sen. Turner contacts ODJFS about unemployment compensation concerns

State Senator Nina Turner has sent a letter to Michael Colbert, director of the Ohio Department of State Senator Nina TurnerJob and Family Services, asking him to address “inconsistent judgments in claims for unemployment benefits” for part-time faculty in the state.

In her letter dated Sept. 30, 2013, Turner maintains that “the main challenge arises from the lack of a clear, workable definition of what constitutes a ‘reasonable assurance’ of employment, as mentioned in Section 4141.29(I)(1) of the Ohio Revised Code.”

Nina Turner letter

As a result, one adjunct faculty member at a university can find his unemployment claim approved, while his colleague, teaching under the same insecure conditions, has hers denied, even after filing appeals.

Some fight every claim; others don’t

Some colleges and universities in the state do not fight the unemployment compensation claims of adjunct faculty. Others, such as the University of Akron, fight every claim that is filed.

This term, UA’s human resources department provided its vice presidents, deans and chairs with a “Reasonable Assurance Memo,” warning them that “failure to give timely reasonable assurance of employment for the next semester can lead to the loss of valued faculty and increased unemployment charges to the department.”

UA’s characterization of the offer of a class for the next term as “reasonable assurance,” is disingenuous, as any class could be cancelled or reassigned to a full-time faculty member due to lack of enrollment.

UA’s definition — and some Ohio Department of Job and Family Services rulings regarding part-time faculty’s eligibility for unemployment compensation — are contrary to information disseminated by ODJFS. One publication, which Sen. Turner cited in her letter, states:

Regardless of whether you are a professional or nonprofessional, if the offer of work is contingent upon sufficient funding or enrollment, you would not have reasonable assurance for the next school year or term.

Help with your unemployment compensation claim

 

Help with your unemployment compensation claim

Within the past six weeks, the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association sent two public records requests to seven Ohio institutions of higher education.

As of now, we have received documents from Lakeland Community College and the University of Akron. We have uploaded these to our website.

You can find all public records we received by clicking on the Campuses tab, then on the link for the individual college or university. We will post more as we get them.

Among the documents we already received were a response letter from legal counsel at UA and an email from legal counsel at LCC that said a list of part-time faculty who have been assigned courses for fall semester 2013, as well as contracts for those faculty, will not be available until October (at UA) or the tenth week of the semester (at LCC).

If you are an adjunct at UA or LCC, these documents may help bolster your unemployment compensation claim and/or its appeal, if your claim has been denied because the university has argued you have “reasonable assurance of employment” in the fall term. These documents appear to indicate otherwise. Please consider downloading them and including them in your unemployment compensation appeal to help bolster your case.

We also recommend that you read this post about a UA adjunct who won her unemployment compensation appeal after a telephone hearing was conducted. We have posted the documents she included in her successful appeal, which made a cogent argument regarding the difference between the “possibility of employment” and “reasonable assurance of employment” using wording from the Federal Unemployment Tax Act and UA policies.

You can find the documents she used on the University of Akron page on this site. They are located under the heading “Documents for your unemployment compensation claim or appeal.”

You can find the public records we received at these links:

More unemployment compensation resources:

UA adjunct wins unemployment appeal

At the University of Akron and some other Ohio institutions, it is routine practice to dispute unemployment claims filed by former employees, including part-time faculty members. This month, a member of UA’s part-time faculty fought the university’s denial of her claim and won.

The adjunct applied for benefits when spring semester ended in May. Her application was approved, and she received benefits from May 18 through June 8.

When UA disputed her claim, the Department of Job & Family Services issued a redetermination saying she was not eligible to receive benefits during the summer months because she had “reasonable assurance of continued employment” with UA for the fall term, as she had received and accepted a verbal offer to teach one course during fall semester 2013.

The adjunct filed a written appeal of the redetermination, and the process moved to the next level — a telephone hearing conducted by a hearing officer with Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation Review Commission.

At the hearing, the adjunct represented herself, and UA was represented by Neil Bhagat, an attorney with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, the firm that currently represents UA in its unemployment compensation disputes. UA also had Sheldon Wrice, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, on the line as a witness during the phone hearing.

Here’s how the part-time faculty member who won her appeal described the process:

“the administrator [Wrice] was understanding of my situation. At one point, he stated that I could be bumped by a full time faculty member up until the first day of classes. He also commented that an offer of employment was not a guarantee of employment, and that I did not enjoy the same rights and privileges as it relates to full time status…Although, my individual facts and circumstances could be different from others, they [other adjuncts] certainly will be able to cite the prior court case of the University of Akron v. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as it relates to the reasonable assurance clause in the Ohio unemployment statute.

“As an aside, I think it is important to note that claimants can question witnesses during a telephone hearing. I simply asked questions of the administrator that cast doubt upon the certainty of part-time employment — especially in the areas of bumping and enrollment numbers. I hope this helps others to support their claims when denied unemployment based on this murky ‘reasonable assurance’ issue.”

When hearing officer Emily Briscoe issued her July 22 decision granting unemployment compensation to the UA adjunct, she cited Webster’s Dictionary in defining the terms “reasonable” and “assurance.” See the text of this section below or read the decision in its entirety, with the name of the part-time faculty member redacted by OPTFA to protect her privacy.

reasonable assuranceThe adjunct who won this appeal shared her story with the Ohio Adjunct Discussion Listserv in the hope that “it will help others decide to push forward with their claims and appeals.”

In a message on the listserv, she also wrote:
I do believe that the reasonable assurance justification employed by the University can be challenged. Additionally, I will simply add to the sentiments expressed in a previous [discussion list] thread, that unemployment benefits are our legal right when we lack employment. No one should be discouraged because they perceive some sort of backlash. If you think about it, what are you really losing? With the anticipated cutbacks in adjunct hours and class offerings, we are all vulnerable. The only way to ensure that we are treated fairly is for us to file. Hopefully, we can send a message to academic institutions that we will assert our rights to benefits and pursue them vigorously.

Although adjuncts are entitled to unemployment compensation between terms, they often do not file for benefits for several reasons:

  • They may not realize they are entitled to benefits.
  • They may fear retaliation.
  • They may be unwilling to go through the necessary filing and appeals process because they have heard that the claims of other adjuncts have been denied.

More unemployment compensation resources:

UA changes rule on part-time faculty

The University of Akron Board of Trustees approved a change to University Rule 3359-20-06.1 regarding part-time faculty appointments.

The new terminology reads:

While many part-time faculty may be reappointed from successive academic terms, all part-time faculty are employed on an at-will basis.

The rule formerly read:

While many part-time faculty may be reappointed from successive academic terms, the appointment and any reappointments confer no expectancy whatsoever of continued employment.

UA board rule change

Text of UA rule on adjuncts

Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, said UA’s move was a calculated one.

“It’s clear that this change is intended to make it more difficult for adjunct faculty to collect unemployment benefits. However, New Faculty Majority will simply bring this to state and federal policymakers as a good example of the ways that colleges are trying to have their cake and eat it too.”

We asked employment attorney Nancy Grim whether this rule change would make it more difficult for UA adjuncts to get unemployment compensation. Here was her response:

“Maybe a little more difficult. `Expectation of continued employment’ is a term in the unemployment statutes.  `At will’ means you can be fired at any time for any reason.

“It was convenient that the UofA expressly stated there was `no expectancy whatsoever of continued employment’  (though only useful if people brought that to the attention of the unemployment office or hearing officer in each case).

“Still, this remains a factual question for each case.  As we discussed, applicants should affirmatively submit facts that show they do not have a reasonable expectation of continued employment.”

Here are links to helpful unemployment compensation resources:

Revised on May 10, 2013.

File for unemployment at May 11 “Filing Party”

What: If spring term is over and you are without a teaching assignment, bring your laptop, if you have one, and join your peers to file for Ohio Unemployment Compensation. We will walk you through the unemployment compensation process online and answer any questions you may have.

steve street unemployment compensation initiative

If you teach at the University of Akron and have heard that UA disputes all unemployment compensation claims, you will be interested to know that the university appears to have changed its longtime policy on this issue. Here is what a UA spokesperson said in an April 11, 2013, Akron Beacon Journal story on the issue: “UA spokeswoman Eileen Korey said the university would not appeal claims for unemployment by part-timers who have an expectation of employment from term to term and whose jobs have been eliminated.”

When: Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where: office of New Faculty Majority and the OPTFA. The address is Copley Commons, 2830 Copley Rd., Suite 26, Copley, Ohio 44321.

Join the meeting online: Visit https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/664710805 and log in using Meeting ID: 664-710-805. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended.

Join the meeting by phone: Call in using your telephone. Dial +1 (404) 891-0552. Access Code: 664-710-805. Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting. Meeting ID: 664-710-805

RSVP: to optfa@newfacultymajority.info

Download the event flyer to share with your colleagues.

Get more Event information.

Adjuncts learn how to apply for unemployment at March 20 webinar

Please register for Applying for Unemployment Compensation in Ohio: A How-to for Adjunct Faculty, a free webinar scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at noon EDT.

To register, visit:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8006273487003863296

This webinar will explain how adjunct faculty can apply for unemployment compensation in between academic terms and how to contest college and university attempts to appeal awards.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

This event is co-sponsored by the New Faculty Majority Foundation and the Ohio Part-time Faculty Association.