Just as unemployment claims were increasing in Montana due to the coronavirus spreading across the country, the local offices closed down due to health concerns. This created issues with people applying for benefits and not receiving them until several weeks later. Many parts of the country experienced both a historically high number of claims and administrative problems never seen before due to large volumes of new claims all being filed at once. 

State unemployment rate reaches a very high number 

During the week of April 20th, 2020, about 10,500 Montana residents filed new unemployment claims, bringing the state’s total to around 81,000 in five weeks. This represents a 14.2% unemployment rate according to the Tax Foundation.  

Montana’s Department of Labor and Industry has said that many groups of workers who could not get regular unemployment benefits are now eligible. Independent contractors, self-employed, and gig workers can all get access to funds because of the coronavirus relief bill that was passed in Congress the prior month. The federal government has also matched state unemployment benefits their own payouts to affected workers.  

However, Montana did experience some delays, like most other states in the country. Many payments would not be issued until late April or early May, with most of them being backdated for the week of March 15th. The fact that workforce consultants were only available by phone and not in person may have slowed the claim process down for some workers.   

When workers experience a job loss they should check for proper pay and other issues 

When an employer chooses to end a worker’s position, there are certain procedures they must follow which are outlined by state and federal law. These workers are usually allowed to file for unemployment benefits, but other issues are important as well. 

The employer can only end a worker’s employment for a neutral reason such as financial problems or poor work performance. Ending the worker’s job due to protected characteristics such as race, gender, religion, national origin, or immigration status is illegal. Workers should be especially vigilant if they feel that their employer was already looking for a reason to terminate them and used a legitimate reason as a pretext for discrimination. 

Montana labor attorneys who focus on these kinds of issues are ready to speak with you if you feel that your employer may have broken the law. If you have any doubts about how your employment ended, it is best to review the situation with a legal professional. 

Get help from an employment attorney in Montana

There are lawyers in your state who can explain your rights and employment law issues more thoroughly based on your personal situation. For immediate help, use the listings on USAttorneys.com to find a lawyer in your area. 

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