State of Ohio was using unfair means to target those employees
The State of Ohio was using unfair means to target those employees that were refusing to work in the Covid-19 pandemic crises without being guaranteed health benefits. It was using a fictitious Covid-19 website to track such employees from various companies.
But a hacker’s ethical intervention seems to have brought the website down. The hacker is confirmed to have released a certain script or code that allowed anyone to automatically submit junk data this Ohio’s controversial COVID-19 Fraud website. The website was dubiously prompting employers to report workers who refuse to work during the deadly pandemic. The idea was to deny all such employees with unemployment benefits as well.
A complete neglect of the labour rights of such employees, the state has now been forced to stop its tracks and is reconsidering its policy. Ohio is one of the few states in United States that has forced itself back to normalcy despite health issue warnings from concerned authorities. It has ignored all such warnings and forced workers to come to work, despite lack of any assurances of personal protection or coverage, in case any of them contracts the virus and becomes ill fit to return to work.
Additionally, many retail and service workers have been deemed “essential” and have returned to work in crowded stores and warehouses without personal protective equipment such as masks. Most of them do not have health insurance or unemployment benefits. Many who are under contractual employment and also not covered under any severed pay or paid leave benefits.
In the fraudulent insurance website, the script fills in dubious forms, jamming the site to an extend that the employers cannot use it to track employees that were actually demanding claims against no show to work, due to unsafe working conditions.
Unemployment benefits have been a critical lifeline to millions of Americans who have been laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are federal laws which protect the rights of workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) for example grants workers the right to refuse to work if they believe workplace conditions could cause them serious imminent harm. The OSH Act also includes an anti-retaliatory clause, meaning you can’t be fired or demoted for asserting your right to a safe workplace — though a worker must file that claim within 30 days of any alleged retaliation. But the workers or group of workers have to had valid proof to show that there is a sense of danger to personal safety.