Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 60.2. Unemployment Compensation
Chapter 1. General Provisions and Administration
11/27/2022

§ 60.2-121.3. Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman; established; responsibilities.

A. The Commission shall create the Office of the Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman (the Office) and shall appoint an Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman to head the Office. The Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman shall provide neutral educational information and assistance to, shall protect the interests of, and shall ensure that due process is afforded to all persons seeking assistance in (i) appeals proceedings brought pursuant to Chapter 6 (§ 60.2-600 et seq.) and (ii) any other matter related to unemployment compensation under this title. Subject to annual appropriations, the Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman shall employ sufficient personnel to carry out the duties and powers prescribed by this section. The Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman and personnel of the Office shall carry out their duties with impartiality and shall not serve as an advocate for any person or provide legal advice.

B. The Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman shall maintain data on inquiries received related to the unemployment compensation process, the types of assistance requested, and actions taken and the disposition of each such matter. The Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman shall report information summarizing this data, including outcomes of individual cases, without disclosing individual-level identifying data, to the Commission at least once annually. The Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman shall carry out any additional activities as the Commission determines to be appropriate.

C. All memoranda, work products, and other materials contained in the case files of the Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman and personnel of the Office shall be confidential. Any communication between the Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman and personnel of the Office and a person receiving assistance that is made during or in connection with the provision of services of the Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman and personnel of the Office shall be confidential. Confidential materials and communications shall not be subject to disclosure and shall not be admissible in any judicial or administrative proceeding except where (i) a threat to inflict bodily injury is made; (ii) communications are intentionally used to plan, attempt to commit, or commit a crime or conceal an ongoing crime; (iii) a complaint is made against the Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman or personnel of the Office by a person receiving assistance to the extent necessary for the complainant to prove misconduct or the Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman or personnel of the Office to defend against such complaint; or (iv) communications are sought or offered to prove or disprove a claim or complaint of misconduct or malpractice filed against the legal representative of a person who received assistance from the Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman or personnel of the Office. Confidential materials and communications as described in this section are not subject to mandatory disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

D. The Unemployment Compensation Ombudsman and personnel of the Office shall be immune from civil liability in their performance of the duties specified in this section.

2022, cc. 716, 754.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.