Lawsuit filed over delays at Virginia Employment Commission

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Five women are suing the leader of the Virginia agency that handles unemployment benefits, alleging “gross failures” to provide needed help as required by law amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday morning on behalf of the plaintiffs by several legal aid groups and their pro bono partners.

Named as the defendant is Ellen Marie Hess, head of the Virginia Employment Commission.

A commission spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The agency has been swamped with applications for benefits. But a year into the pandemic, critics say Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration hasn’t done enough to resolve the issues.

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