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Taking unauthorized courses online gets displaced worker booted from TAA program

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A displaced worker’s enrollment in online classes without permission is grounds for dismissal from the Trade Adjustment Assistance training program, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

In Kevin Perry v. Unemployment Insurance Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development UI Claims Adjudication Center, 93A02-1208-EX-649, the COA affirmed the findings and conclusions of the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Perry qualified for the TAA program after being laid off from his job at Columbus Components in June 2009. He subsequently enrolled in the accounting program at Ivy Tech Community College.

Once he started at Ivy Tech, Perry requested he be allowed to take his courses online for the spring, summer and fall 2012 semesters. His request was denied, and he was given verbal and written warnings that modifying his training plan without permission could put his benefits at risk. However, Perry made no attempt to change his registration.

Consequently, the DWD removed Perry from the training program because he modified his education plan without prior approval.

Perry appealed, disputing the conclusion that his enrollment in the online courses constituted a change in his training that required authorization.

The COA made a distinction that the issue is not whether online coursework is permissible under the TAA program but whether Perry was eligible to continue to participate in the TAA program after he deviated from the approved plan without authorization.

“Here, the evidence supports the findings, and the findings support the conclusion, that Perry deviated from his approved training program without prior authorization,” Judge Edward Najam Jr. wrote. “Thus, we cannot say that the Review Board erred when it affirmed his termination from the TAA program.”  

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