Iowa State Senator Wants Review of Unemployment Process

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A leading Democrat in the Iowa Senate says the director of Iowa Workforce Development is improperly pressuring judges who hear unemployment cases to rule against workers in favor of employers.

Sen. Bill Dotzler, of Waterloo, says Teresa Wahlert last year fired the chief administrative law judge and took over supervision of the department's 14 judges.

Dotzler says he's talked with many judges who fear for their jobs.

He's asked the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate whether Wahlert is violating federal laws requiring fair impartial administration of unemployment benefits.

Wahlert did not respond to a message.

Spokeswoman Kerry Koonce says the chief judge's position was eliminated due to budget shortfalls. She says the department's unemployment appeals process received praise from the Department of Labor following a monitoring visit last week.
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