Unemployment Claims Rise As Return-To-Work Plans Are Postponed  

The delta variant of COVID-19 seems to have dealt the nation yet another blow on the road to economic recovery. Just as unemployment claims were headed in the right direction, new data released by the Labor Department shows a rise in the number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims. Those claims unexpectedly rose to 419,000 last week, an increase of 51,000 from the previous week.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what led to that rise, but it could have to do with businesses closely monitoring the spread of the new delta variant and taking precautions. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. is reporting an average of about 43,700 new cases per day over the past week. While that’s still far below the pandemic high, it’s nearly three times the level we saw just two weeks earlier. 

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines regarding the use of masks. The CDC now says, people should once again wear masks while inside public settings in areas with elevated levels of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. 

The recent surge has also thrown a wrench in many return-to-work plans. Tech giant Apple decided to postpone its plan of bringing employees back to the office three days a week in September to October. Other large corporations like Facebook, Slack and Square say they plan to stick with a mostly remote workforce for the time being.

All this comes on the heels of new unemployment guidelines released by the California Employment Development Department (EDD). As of July 11th, Californians receiving unemployment benefits are now required to show proof they’re actively searching for work in order to maintain their eligibility. Amid all this uncertainty, some are left wondering if small businesses that barely survived the first wave of the pandemic can stick out yet another round of possible restrictions and/or closures.

To review some of my more recent blogs related to COVID-19, vaccine and return to work issues, see below:

COVID-19 News

Employee Resources

Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator 

Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.

Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.

Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company.  She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.

For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.

This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.


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