Bottom Feeders

April 3, 2010

In every recession, in every depression, even, there will be those who find some way to make money off the other fellow’s misfortune.  In this extended economic dislocation, while hedge-fund managers are taking profits in billion-dollar bites, Talx Corporation makes a dollar screwing the average working man out of his unemployment benefits.  According to a New York Times article:

Talx, which emerged from obscurity over the last eight years, says it handles more than 30 percent of the nation’s requests for jobless benefits. Pledging to save employers money in part by contesting claims, Talx helps them decide which applications to resist and how to mount effective appeals … “Talx often files appeals regardless of merits,” said Jonathan P. Baird, a lawyer at New Hampshire Legal Assistance. “It’s sort of a war of attrition. If you appeal a certain percentage of cases, there are going to be those workers who give up.”  When fewer former workers get aid, a company pays lower unemployment taxes.

A number of States have complained about their practices:

Wisconsin and Iowa passed laws to curtail procedural abuses that officials said were common in cases handled by Talx. Connecticut fined Talx (pronounced talks) and demanded an end to baseless appeals. New York, without naming Talx, instructed the Labor Department staff to side with workers in cases that simply pit their word against those of agents for employers.

Just can’t beat that capitalism-thing for finding ways to make money out of trash.