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NYS DOL Fails Again

  • Author: Kathy Barany

    Here I go again, ragging on the New York State Department of Labor, but I's my blog!  And gosh darn it, they should be run like a business and thus held accountable.

    Let me start by saying that a source of much frustration is the inconsistency of opinions that the unemployment insurance division dishes out and their lack of ability to make good judgment calls.  Added to that list is poor customer service.

    We talk about how easy it is for ex-employees to get unemployment insurance benefits.  Now I have another side to the story.  This side is from the unemployed's standpoint and the lack of customer service they are receiving from our public employees at the unemployment office. 

    Here's the story.  Bank employee gets fired because she didn't make quota selling loans and additional banking products.  5 months earlier she had been put on a performance improvement plan; no written warnings before or after that.  Employee files for unemployment mid-May.  Employer argues it.  The debate ensues (just through phone calls; not even to the hearing point yet….because UE doesn’t know how to use good judgment so can’t make a decision).

    Fast forward; I’m leaving some out.  Employee’s calls to UE aren’t being returned, so I decided to call the number of their UE Rep 1-888-209-8124 x3386.  Here’s what I hear “Welcome to the NYS DOL UE telephone claims line. To continue in English…..Are you calling to file a claim? We recommend filing on our web site……claim will be processed more efficiently, receive benefits sooner…….. 

    If you are calling with a question about …..severance  ….. how rate was calculated….we suggest you check…before your call…. 

    For info about fraud alerts….to continue to main menu … 9 Main menu….  for quality assurance our call may be monitored….. to enter your reps extension press 1” 

    So after muddling through that, I press 1 then dial the extension and hear: 

    “You have reached Bill……I’m either on the phone or away from my desk.   Due to the high volume of calls I may not be able to immediately return your call (a week later he still hadn’t returned the claimants/employees call).    If you are calling my extension because you have worked with me in the past, please be advised that due to high volume of calls (we heard you the first time you said high volume of calls) I can only return calls to my current claimants (he never did return the call to the current claimant), ……. please do not call repeatedly or leave multiple voice mail messages.  Calls will be returned in the order they are received.” 

    So close to two weeks later he still hadn’t returned the call.  I do get the high volume of calls, then if that is the case, find a way to make your job more efficient.  If you can’t do that, at least learn some customer service and make your message a bit warmer and less robotic.  The employee, claimant, is a single mom with a young child to support.  I get there are a lot of abusers of the system, but they shouldn’t have to pay for those that really need it. 

    I think the DOL should retain my services to help them put together a performance improvement plan for their reps and teach them compassion and good customer service.  Oh wait, they don’t care so why would they?