Supreme Court upholds unemployment benefits for Chrysler workers

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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Even though the provision at issue has been repealed, the justices ruled on the case because it’s a matter of real consequence to the parties involved, wrote Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard for the unanimous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.  



  • A forgery EVTEP
  • 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?

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
    1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

    2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

    3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

    4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

    5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.