“Threats of violence” among concerns as Georgia Ministry of Labor assesses reopening of offices
“We don’t have firm dates yet,” spokeswoman Kersha Cartwright told The Times this week, adding that when it reopens, “it will be done in phases.”
“The most important factor is, of course, the safety of our staff and our customers,” she said. “We have received several threats of violence, and this remains at the forefront of any reopening plan.
“We will also continue to assess several safety and security indicators to ensure that we are complying with all health regulations. “
Tensions have been high throughout the pandemic, with much of the public’s anger aimed at the department’s response to jobless claims. Four Georgian residents are suing the state labor department, claiming delays in processing, paying and hearing appeals regarding unemployment claims violate state and federal law.
As federal unemployment benefits have ended, the department is demanding greater accountability from claimants. Starting Sunday, July 4, applicants will be required to submit three verifiable contacts of job search activities as part of the weekly certification process, according to the ministry.
The offices of the ministry, including one in 2756 Atlanta Road in Gainesville, are intended for “re-employment services only,” Cartwright said.
“UI appeal hearings and eligibility reviews are all 100% complete online or by phone, ”she said. “If claimants need (unemployment insurance) assistance, we continue to encourage them to contact their local office by email, phone or through our social media platforms. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.