LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada's unemployment department is reporting improved jobless numbers in the state at the same time a class action lawsuit filed against the department is alleging it's failing to pay approximately 60,000 gig workers in a timely manner.
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The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, known as DETR, released its May 2020 economic report Tuesday morning. The report shows the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 25.3% in May compared to 30.1% in April.
While that seems like good news, countless people have reached out to 13 Action News in recent weeks saying they are still unable to receive benefits they are entitled through DETR, especially when it comes to the federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, for gig workers who might not otherwise be eligible for Unemployment Insurance.
A writ of mandamus filed in court on Monday claims DETR is failing its statutory obligations by not paying unemployment "when due."
Lawyers representing gig workers say an accounting issue at DETR is to blame and are calling on the department to pay out claims now and then collect overpayments at a later date.
The letter addressed to "putative class members — (all gig workers still not being paid unemployment compensation even though they have a valid claim pending with DETR)" reads in part:
This is a putative class action. You don’t have to “join” in order to be covered. Later you may or may not be given an opportunity to opt out of the class, but for now, you don’t have to do anything to get the benefits of our litigation.
However, you can help by contacting your elective representative to ask for help. Although it is not your responsibility to figure out why DETR is not doing its job of paying unemployment compensation quickly, the governor and other higher up politicians can talk to the people at DETR who can fix this problem. DETR has a statutory duty to pay claims “when due” which means as quickly as possible once DETR determines the claim is not totally phony. DETR is simply not doing its job.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.