GIG WORKERS DENIED UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION
THIERMAN BUCK are class action lawyers who sued to force DETR to get its web page for gig workers finally working. The sooner someone can apply for unemployment, the sooner they can get the benefits they are entitled to. When DETR announced it would take yet another ten days to get the website going, we filed the lawsuit. Three days after the lawsuit was announced in the press, the DETR put up the Gig Worker website/ application portal. We thought “Mission accomplished” and were ready to dismiss the case.
But now we have be receiving reports of mixed results about DETR making payment after application online by Gig workers. About 20% of gig workers are getting paid, retroactively, and a few are getting one payment but no retroactive payments (for reasons no one can figure out). But the rest are not getting paid at all, despite letters saying that they are eligible. I am looking for patterns- and people to serve as examples of patterns of non-payment- in court filings. So far, it looks rather random but the non-payment may be because DETR incorrectly uses the non-CAREs & PUA criteria for the CAREs and PUA money i.e. the $ 600 / week “additional” money everyone should be entitled to if they lost work income from the effects of the pandemic. Workers with more than a few dollars of interim earners, who are normally not entitled to any Unemployment but who are making a lot less than before the pandemic are entitled to the full $600 per week. But DETR seems to think the denial traditional benefits is reason to deny the CARES & PUA benefits- which it is not. Also, it appears that DETR is not processing claims fast enough and therefore, should forfeit all defenses to payment– which is not what happens.
We would like some data and your insight into what is going wrong with DETR this time. A class action is only possible if many people suffer the exact same wrong for the same reason. Here, the common wrong is the inappropriate denial of benefits due, but why. To bring it in court as a class action, the reason for the denial needs to common to more than a few people.–
We also need to know what types of situations result in people being paid. This help us to at least guess at a cause and effect rationale. So, if you do get paid, please let me know any glitches that you fixed or what your story was. For example, today the firm received a note that a Lyft driver in Reno was paid in full, including back benefits retroactively to March 14, or so. But an Uber driver let us know that he was not paid anything, even though both applied on the same day. The Uber driver was in Vegas, and the Lyft in Reno. The Uber driver had earned a few dollars a week from local rides during the pandemic but was down 60% from normal because Vegas was basically shut down by the Governor’s March Executive Order, so no tourists (his main source of ride customers) were using Uber in Las Vegas. On the other hand, the Lyft driver didn’t earn anything during the pandemic emergency since she didn’t drive for fear of the covid contamination (she is pregnant and didn’t want to risk any bad things happening to the baby she was carrying). But it would be wrong to punish someone for trying to support their family by accepting some work, even though it was a drastic decrease in revenue from his normal weekly amount. As you can see, its hard to figure out. We are looking for cause and effect– what is the difference in these two situations and why does one get money and not the other. If the reasons for non-payment of the Uber driver is that DETR is counted interim earnings as a disqualifier, then it is contrary to federal mandated rules. In that cases, we have a case. The more facts we have, the better we can apply reason to those facts to determine causation, and if the causation is wrong or unlawful, sue to correct it as a class action.
So to be clear, we are looking for information at this point. We can’t take an individual case to court– the DETR appeals process is for individual cases- but we can sue for a violation of civil rights (Unemployment compensation is a federal entitlement program) for a class for a group of people who all suffer a denial of benefits by a state agency (DETR) for the same incorrect reason (governmental denial of property without due process of law). But we need to figure out what is the basis for the denial, and DETR’s website denial letters don’t explain much. So email us what is going on and your best guess as to why, and we will try to help you as a group if we can.
No charge but no promises that we have the right reason or that we can win either. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for helping us to help you as a group.