Ohio tells companies to report employees who don't return to work as state reopens

Ohio will allow companies to report employees who don’t return to work when their jobs become available as the state reopens, officials announced Friday.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services set up a website for employers to report workers who refuse to come to work and emailed companies about it Friday. The department’s policy indicates if people refuse to go back to work and their jobs are available, they cannot qualify for unemployment benefits.

The email, obtained by Cleveland.com, said, “Ohio law prohibits individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept offers of suitable work, or quit work, without good cause.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services director Kimberly Hall told reporters Monday that companies need to be transparent and communicate the steps they are taking to protect workers, according to Cleveland.com.

If employees refuse to return to work, an administrative review board will determine if they can receive unemployment benefits based on whether a reasonable person would feel unsafe coming back to work. 

But unemployment attorneys warned Cleveland.com that employees would need to show the required “just cause” for quitting, which would be difficult to prove.

Monday marked the first day that nonessential offices, construction, manufacturing and distribution operations are permitted to reopen. On Friday, elective medical procedures that did not require an overnight stay were allowed to resume. 

Ohio has confirmed at least 20,474 cases of COVID-19, leading to at least 3,809 hospitalizations and 1,056 deaths, according to the state health department. A total of 1.06 million people in the state have filed unemployment claims in a six-week period.