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Supreme Court upholds unemployment benefits for Chrysler workers

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The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed the decision by the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development granting unemployment benefits to Chrysler workers who took voluntary buyouts.

In 2008 and 2009, Chrysler offered a buyout program – the Enhanced Voluntary Termination of Employment Program – to employees in Kokomo. Employees who participated in the EVTEP relinquished all recall and seniority rights with Chrysler. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development then terminated unemployment benefits for those employees who had been on layoff prior to accepting the EVTEP, and it denied unemployment benefits to the employees who had been actively working for Chrysler prior to accepting EVTEP. Both groups appealed to an administrative law judge, who determined that those employees who were on indefinite layoff before accepting the EVTEP were entitled to continued unemployment benefits, but the employees who were actively working or on temporary layoff were not. Chrysler and the employees then appealed to DWD’s review board, which found that all employees who accepted the buyout were eligible for benefits under Indiana Code 22-4-14-1(c) despite a lack of good cause for leaving their job.

Subsection (c) said that “[e]xcept as provided in IC 22-4-5-1, a person who: (1) accepts an offer of payment or other compensation offered by an employer to avert or lessen the effect of a layoff or plant closure; and (2) otherwise meets the eligibility requirements established by this article; is entitled to receive benefits in the same amounts, under the same terms, and subject to the same conditions as any other unemployed person.”

Even though the provision at issue has been repealed, the justices ruled on the case because it’s a matter of real consequence to the parties involved, wrote Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard for the unanimous court in Chrysler Group, LLC v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and T.A., et al., No. 93S02-1109-EX-565.

The justices agreed with Chrysler’s argument that I.C. 22-4-14-1(c) requires a desire to avert or lessen the effect of a layoff or plant closure be viewed from the perspective of the employer. But the justices didn’t accept Chrysler’s argument that it hadn’t explicitly announced the particular plant closure or layoffs, so the provision at issue shouldn’t apply.

The high court didn’t see why such an explicit declaration of the employer’s intent is necessary under the provision, and “Chrysler’s approach would undermine these humanitarian purposes, allowing a disingenuous employer to side-step its responsibilities under the Act by simply choosing its words carefully to avoid an explicit declaration of intent,” wrote the chief justice.

The justices also found no reason that Chrysler must have intended to close the plants where the employees worked or lay off additional people at those plants for the provision to apply. The EVTEP did ultimately avert or lessen the effects of the layoffs, and there is substantial evidence that Chrysler intended for the program to lessen the effect of the layoffs or plant closure.  

 

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  • A forgery EVTEP
    A EMPLOYEE HAVE BEEN THREATENED TO TAKE THE BUYOUT, ON THE DAY OF 12/04/2009 SHE NERVER SIGN OUT FOR NO BUYOUT, CHRYSLER THREATETENED HER TO TAKE IT. CHRYSLER ALSO BACK DATED TO 11/13/2009,
  • lawyer to take my case
    I also took buyout in 09 yet I have not recieved my unemployment looking for lawyer to win my case
  • Need Info
    I also am seeking information pertaining to the lawyers that handled this case. Also how to make a claim.
  • Chrysler worker
    I took the buyout in 2009, I would like to know how I go about checking my eligibility for these benefits?

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    1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

    2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

    3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

    4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

    5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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