As many companies have realized through personal experience in the past 12 months, fraudulent unemployment claims have risen exponentially in the State of Ohio. The rise in the number of unemployment applications, combined with the increased benefit levels found in the COVID-19 relief package, has made unemployment fraud a lucrative crime in Ohio and around the country.
As a result, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) recently announced an online reporting system for employers who suspect fraudulent unemployment claims have been made on the behalf of current or former employees. ODJFS has asked to be notified if and when they suspect a fraudulent unemployment claim was filed. Employers can do this through its response to the initial Request for Information from the ODJFS and also by requesting employees to file a report of a suspected fraudulent claimant at www.unemployment.ohio.gov and clicking on the “Report Identity Theft” link. Employers can also report suspected fraud at https://secure.jfs.ohio.gov/feedback/ouc/ouc-fraud/index.stm
In addition, it would likely be a good human resources practice to inform the current or former employee of the fraudulent claim for benefits so they can make a decision as to whether or nor they want to take steps to protect themselves from further damage caused by identity theft. Employees can be referred to the Ohio Attorney General website for additional information related to identify theft: www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/IdentityTheft
If you have any questions regarding this issue, please call Michael J. Bogdan (firstname.lastname@example.org) at (330) 497-0700 or any of the attorneys in Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty’s Labor & Employment Law Practice Section.
NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.