in Houston, Texas
Texas Workforce Commission official who coached businesses on avoiding workers' benefits gets promotion
Monday, Dec 05, 2011, 02:46PM CST
By Steve Miller
Help Wanted

A state official who had advised Texas businesses how to skirt paying workers' benefits was later promoted to division director at the Texas Workforce Commission.

In July 2010, Jonathan Babiak, then a deputy director at the commission, gave a speech to a group of business people about unemployment claims and how to avoid them. From the Houston Chronicle report:
Say you're the boss and you're going to fire one of your employees. Instead of booting the employee out the door, the Texas Workforce Commission recommends giving your employee the option to resign.

Employees given that choice are more likely to conclude they aren't eligible for benefits, Babiak said.
It's not the employer's obligation to correct that misunderstanding, said Babiak, deputy director of appellate services for the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin. If employees resign, he said, "chances are they won't file a claim."
We were told when we called the workforce commission office that Babiak had been transferred to the human resources division.

Imagine our surprise to find that Babiak is now an executive at the commission, holding the title of director of the civil rights division, a position he was promoted to in November of 2010.
 
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Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Comments
Carrie
Friday, 12/16/2011 - 10:51AM

Not surprising. I've been a recipient of TWC for over 2 years. They try every dirty trick in the book to deny benefits. I've had two battles with them and won both. The first they "investigated" why I didn't take a temp assignment, second a lying HR rep for a recruiter who wrote a letter of the same to TWC costing me 3 months worth of benefit delays. Currently, they stubbornly sent "work separation" papers (I landed a long term temp to perm gig) to a recruiters wrong address and refused to correct it because the PO box was in their "system." Causing a delay of over 16 days without pay.

W.P.
Friday, 06/08/2012 - 07:10PM

This is disturbing that this man would be promoted after basically telling employers how to cheat employees. I myself am currently trying to obtain unemployment benefits. I worked for Pinnacle Technical Resources in Dallas, TX as a contractor for AT&T.

This company ran employees through like cattle. Employees had to often work 13 hour shifts with the breaks and lunch time routinely scheduled during the first 3 hours forcing the employees to have to work 8 to 10 hours with no break whatsoever; not even a restroom break. Then the company came to everyone with a "new contract" which would reduce everyone's salary from $17.00 to $13.00 dollars per hour if we didn't meet certain metrics such as for instance allowing more than one callback per day. This would have been fine if we didn't do inbound call center work where customers called in on cellphones, etc. and them their calls would drop. We literally could not call them back even though we took back to back calls and over 3,009 calls per month.

Then the company turned around and fired people for following their instructions. Company mgmt would also have managers do "write up" drives where they were informed to write up everyone for anything. Then when work became slow the company fired over 60% of its workforce and then fought everyone's claims for "misconduct".

I am so disheartened, so dissillusioned that honestly I am thinking of starting my own business. To add insult to injury the printers in the building were all code operated and we were instructed they were not to be used EVER by employees. So now the company has their documentation from when they were padding our files but we don't have anything to prove our case as we couldn't print.

This undermines the unemployment system and is wicked.

Allison
Friday, 06/22/2012 - 09:24AM

That is sick. Every person I have ever dealt with a TWC acts like they work for the employer and treat the claimant so disrepectfully. What a shame.

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