States Burn Through Unemployment Reserves as COVID-19 Losses Spike

Calculating the Costs of Unemployment in the United States

From coast to coast, COVID-19 has exacted a heavy toll on the United States economy, forcing unemployment to record levels not seen since the Great Depression. With over 22 million jobless claims, states are struggling to provide income to their newly-unemployed workers – and according to a new analysis from the Wall Street Journal, the majority of states have now burned through nearly half of their unemployment reserves.

At least 22 states were included in the WSJ report, including some of the most highly-populated states like California and New York. Because many states had insufficient funds even to weather a minor recession, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced state officials to re-assess their reserves and even ask for federal assistance. Most recently, New York – which has suffered the most serious COVID-19 epidemic of any region in the United States – asked the federal government for a $4 billion loan to cover its unemployment costs.

What Does This Mean for Unemployed Workers?

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic first began to spread here in America, unemployed workers have had a difficult time getting the funds they need to make ends meet. According to CNBC, state unemployment systems have been overwhelmed with claims over the last month, causing massive delays in delivering unemployment checks. To make matters worse, many people have yet to see payment from the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill that promised to give families $1,200 in immediate COVID-19 relief.

Although most affected companies have simply been forced to lay off workers due to spiraling business losses, the unfortunate truth is that many unethical businesses have been engaging in age discrimination and other wrongful practices when making decisions about their personnel. If you were suddenly laid off due to COVID-19 and have concerns about how that decision was made, you may be entitled to pursue a wrongful termination claim against your former company and seek compensation for those losses.

Under Utah and federal law, it is illegal to terminate workers based on any of the following:

  • Discrimination against the worker’s age, disability status, national origin, race, sex, sexual orientation, and other identifying attributes
  • Reporting unethical or illegal activity through a whistleblower complaint
  • Filing a discrimination complaint to HR or external agencies
  • Taking family or medical leave as defined under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Following mandated COVID-19 “stay at home” and social distancing orders
  • Taking sick leave to care for yourself or a family member, as defined under the CARES Act

While it may be frustrating to wait for your unemployment funding to come through, our team at Pearson Butler can help you navigate the process of filing a wrongful termination claim if you were fired for any of the reasons listed above. As Utah’s full-service law firm, our multi-disciplinary team includes almost 40 highly-qualified legal professionals with experience in a range of areas, from employment law to bankruptcy. If you are struggling after a wrongful termination during this pandemic, our attorneys will listen to your story and help you find the best path forward.

For more information, give our Utah team a call at (800) 265-2314 today. We offer free consultations for your wrongful termination case.