State Senator Nina Turner has sent a letter to Michael Colbert, director of the Ohio Department of Job 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.”
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
- For additional help with your unemployment compensation claim, visit our Campuses page, which has links to college and university pages on our site that include useful documents obtained through public records requests.
- UA adjunct wins unemployment appeal
- The Steve Street National Unemployment Compensation Initiative
- OPTFA Webinar page
- UA changes rule on part-time faculty
- File for unemployment at May 11 “Filing Party”
- Help with your unemployment compensation claim