The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has set up a page on their website where employers can report employees who refuse to return to work as businesses set to reopen in the state.
Under the latest “Stay Safe Ohio” order, medical care such as a dentist or doctor visit that does not require an overnight stay reopened on May 1. Manufacturing, construction and distribution, as well as “general office environments,” reopened on May 4. Retail and service businesses are set to reopen on May 12, with social distancing practices.
Ohio law “prohibits individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept offers of suitable work, or quit work, without good cause,” according to an email sent to employers by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services and obtained by Cleveland.com.
“If you have employees who refuse to return to work or quit work, it’s important that you let the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services know so we can make accurate eligibility determinations,” the email said.
The ODJFS said it may not distribute unemployment benefits to people who turned down suitable work.
“If you refuse suitable work, your benefits may be suspended, unless your reason for refusing is one permitted by Ohio law,” the department said in a guide to unemployment compensation. “For example, your benefits may continue if you cannot accept the work because you are not qualified.”
The form asks employers if their business was deemed essential during the pandemic or when it reopened. It also asks if the employee quit or refused to return, if the work was the same as it was pre-pandemic, and if the employer maintained safety standards required by the governor’s office. The form is found under the Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations tab.
Employers must be transparent about how they are protecting their employees, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall told Cleveland.com on Monday. There is an administrative review process to determine if a worker who refuses to return to work is still eligible for unemployment benefits.
“We’ve always had an administrative review process,” Hall said. “It basically hinges on whether there’s a good-cause reason for that refusal to return to work.”
See the form on the ODJFS website here.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]