Sunday, July 16, 2006

Laid off Goodyear employee loses claim for additonal unemployment benefits from Federal Foreign Trade Adjustment legislation even though Nebraska Departmentof Worforce Development "overlooked" informing her of those benefits.Reed v Nebraska Department of workforce Development 272 Neb. 8 July 14, 2006. No. S-05-1473. Appellant was eligible to apply for trade readjustment allowance (TRA) benefits under 19 U.S.C. § 2291 (2000 & Supp. II 2002) of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Act), additional federal unemployment benefits available for workers who were laid off because of foreign trade competition. Workforce Development failed to notify Appellant of her rights so she missed the deadline to apply; Workforce Development denied her benefits application as untimely. Appellant sought review to the Supreme Court arguing that the plain language of the statute does not support the state Department of Labor's interpretation of the deadline and that even if it does, Workforce Development is equitably estopped from enforcing the deadline against her. SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS: Congress, when adopting the new deadlines, rejected the interpretation which Reed advocates that the regulations allow flexibility in applying for benefits.In § 2291(b)(2), Congress excepted certain workers from the training requirements of § 2291(a)(5). But the enumerated exception in § 2291(b)(2) does not track with the retroactive/proactive distinction in 20 C.F.R. § 617.10. Instead, § 2291(b)(2) fails to mention the retroactive/proactive distinction recognized by the regulations. When Congress provides exceptions in a statute, it does not follow that courts have authority to create others. United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 120 S. Ct. 1114, 146 L. Ed. 2d 39 (2000). The proper inference is that Congress considered the issue of exceptions and, in the end, limited the statute to the ones set forth. See id. We infer from the language of § 2291(b)(2) that Congress opted not to adopt the eligibility requirements as interpreted by the regulations. Further, legislative history for the 2002 Trade Act supports this reading.

No comments: