EDD employees nap, watch TV, surf net, while claims stack up

EDD employees nap, watch TV, surf net, while claims stack up

My three-part series about the Employment Development Department computer system upgrade has some in the agency wanting to unload. Apparently EDD officials’ explanation of the newly updated $100 million computer system “glitches,” and claims of understaffing, aren’t the whole story, according to some EDD employees.

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I’ve received calls from EDD employees with tales of lazy coworkers and strange office work conditions one would usually only find in Hollywood sitcoms.

The Office” has nothing on the EDD, according to EDD employees I spoke with. But even with the lazy, napping, snoring, or movie-watching co-workers, EDD workers say there is no shortage of employees to process unemployment claims.

No shortage of EDD employees

Several EDD employees told me they believe the upper management at the EDD is allowing the massive unpaid claims debacle to continue in order to show the Legislature and governor that the agency needs more funding, and more personnel hired.

But  several of the workers I spoke with, some of who have been with the EDD for more than 10 and 20 years, say the problem is a lack of leadership within the agency.

Why else would EDD employees be allowed to watch movies on their iPads all day? Or snore loudly while they nap? Or make personal phone calls — for hours? EDD employees reported that coworkers really do this.

The tales I heard did not sound as if they were coming from disgruntled employees either. I was a Human Resources Director for 20 years. I am relatively adept at identifying real workplace complaints, or employees who feel unappreciated.

EDD employees turn phones off?

One EDD employee told me most of her co-workers shuffle papers all day, killing time. She said many of the workers turn the EDD desk phones off, and refuse to take phone calls from claimants. Instead, so they don’t have to take phone calls, they fight over the mail. “They should be answering phone calls, but they don’t,” she said.

Another EDD employee told me about a co-worker who watches movies all day long on his iPad. She said his desk is right next to the supervisor’s office.

Another EDD employee said one of his coworkers snores loudly when she naps at her desk. He said supervisors walk by the napping employees and movie watchers, but never correct the behavior.

Of the EDD employees who contacted me, all said supervisors are either busy socializing with coworkers, or never come out of their offices.

“People turn off the phones,” one EDD employee said. “They don’t even answer the calls. The lack of work ethic these people have comes form the very top,” she added. “Nobody is accountable for anything.”

Holiday parties

One EDD employee who said she’s been with the agency 22 years, said staff are spending entire work days decorating the offices for the holidays, and planning holiday parties. “They are bored,” she said. “I am amazed at how much time they spend planning parties, and they are pulling in overtime wages.”

In her office, she also said EDD employees watch television shows on their iPads, right in front of supervisors.  “Some are sleeping at their desks. This is insane!” she added.

“There is no shortage of manpower,” she said. “The EDD did that massive hiring with the funding from the Obama administration. There’s no lack of staff.”

“I called that dude Henry Perea,” she said, referring to Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno. Perea is chairman of the Assembly Insurance Committee, and held a hearing in November about the EDD computer failures, which left tens of thousands of claimants without their anticipated unemployment checks.

“I left him a message telling him about what goes on in my office,” she added. “I’ve been with the EDD 22 years, and it’s never been like this… this bad.”

“And the good employees, we’re watched like hawks,” another EDD employee told me. “If we’re productive, they deliberately slow our work down,” he said.

“It’s no wonder in the annual survey of best and worse run state governments, we’re always ranked the worst managed state,” he said. “And EDD is the worst of the worst.”

Links for my Three-Part Series: Part 1, an interview with EDD Spokesman Dan Stephens, is here. Part 2, “EDD computers must be fixed by Dec. 31,” is here. Part 3, “Employment Development Computer system not yet fixed,” is here.

12 comments

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  1. Jack Tachspeyr
    Jack Tachspeyr 17 December, 2013, 23:34

    Thank the unions, then hiring quotas, in that order. Abolish both and it would be possible to clean the place up.

    Reply this comment
  2. David
    David 18 December, 2013, 16:36

    Are you serious? Why aren’t these people fired??? I’ve talked to a lot of reps and they are aholes, so rude, and the tone of their voices are full of hatred. I’m going on 8 weeks with no pay because of this warning message on my account. Im broke. I just don’t know what to do. I did get a job but I won’t start until January.

    Reply this comment
    • Bob
      Bob 29 January, 2014, 09:59

      Hey David, I have the very same problem, a warning message which prevents me from getting paid. I had to appeal an EDD decision, the judge sided with me and reversed the EDD’s decision. But the EDD is still not paying me.

      Reply this comment
      • Lawana Wright
        Lawana Wright 6 February, 2014, 09:57

        Same here, David and Bob. I too appealed a disqualification and it was overturned and I have not been paid since the decision was released. Currently they owe me for 9 weeks plus the overpayment refund. I have contacted my local assemblyman, chief deputy director, sharon hilliard, all to no avail. The weeks owed are

        10/5
        10/12
        10/19
        10/26
        11/2
        12/7
        12/14
        12/21
        12/28.

        Sorry I too have a warning flagged on my account and the only information I am getting from the representatives at EDD is that it is a programming issue. I have asked to communicate with the programmers, but I was told they cannot take phone calls from tens of thousands of claimants. I too am desperate.

        Reply this comment
  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 19 December, 2013, 00:52

    A more pleasurable experience is a State sales tax audit……they tear out the roof of your mouth…you betcha!

    Reply this comment
  4. Katy Grimes
    Katy Grimes Author 19 December, 2013, 12:48

    I received word from one of the EDD employees in this story that today in a Los Angeles EDD office, event organizers are setting up for a big office party. And, there is a separate office party in the appeals unit. “The public can wait,” she said.

    Katy

    Reply this comment
  5. Donkey
    Donkey 19 December, 2013, 14:55

    This reminds me of the time the police and fireman were backing different candidates in the city elections, both sides would extol the virtues of their own RAGWUS cabal while tearing into the others. I have friends in both the FD and PD of HB.

    One example is that the cops would come to the firehouses to watch movies with their FF buddies. While on duty a cop stopped by and fell asleep, he was awakened by an emergency call, ran out to his car and drove away but his gun and ID had been left behind on the couch.

    In another episode a FF that was sent out to get chips and dip didn’t return for hours, he was tracked down with the help of the PD and located at a dimly lit bar on Beach Blvd, he had to much to drink and didn’t want to have an accident on his way back.

    There isn’t a story that could be outrageous enough about a RAGUWUS feeder or their cabals that I would in anyway doubt!!

    Good work Katy!!!! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  6. Neighbor
    Neighbor 20 December, 2013, 14:23

    This is absurd! I have worked EDD for 10 years and I can assure you that in our big office, NO ONE SLACKS OFF! Most all of my co workers try hard to help claimants. The volume of work to do is overwhelming, someitmes we get tired. but I have Never seen anyone slacking off, some people can do 2 things at once! Anyone who is talking to a blogger should look at themselves first. The top management does not really know what needs to be done at the customer service level, so that slows us down.
    * There should be a sincere investigation into how the new computer program contract was awarded to Deloitte. It starts at the top! Did any top level personnel retire soon afterwards; knowing that the program does not work? YES!

    Reply this comment
  7. J. Johnson
    J. Johnson 20 December, 2013, 17:31

    KATY – Thank you for your work. What information If any have you found out about these “warning” message claims? These flags are causing people to not be paid for Months!!! There are no time tables given for resolution either. It’s a travesty and criminal behavior of the worst kind.

    Reply this comment
  8. THE PI
    THE PI 20 December, 2013, 21:03

    Call centers & Telephone claim filers do not turn off their phones; their phones are turned off by central management in Sacramento. They look at how many people are working each day and assign them jobs according to their ‘superior’ decision making process. I’d much rather spend time talking to desperate callers and getting them paid than endlessly opening and removing silly stop payment flags the new system instituted. Sometimes, I get to remove enough flags to pay someone for 8-10 weeks. Then I feel like a guerrilla activist.

    It doesn’t take a lot of work to find out what Deloitte is all about. A simple review of the Wikipedia entry(even allowing for Wikipedia inaccuracies) will make you shudder. They are responsible for system overruns in LAUSD and CA State Court Systems, both of which were systems which were supposed to make payroll systems (LAUSD) and case management (Court Systems) upgrades but ended up costing the agencies involved double/triple + costs to ‘fix’ problems (sound familiar?). And that doesn’t include thier international escapades. And yes, the former Director of EDD retired just before the system went ‘active’. He’s sitting somewhere enjoying a fat retirement at state expense. He continued to assure the state that the upgraded system would eliminate the need for live calls and enable unemployed folks to do everything online. Even those that don’t have computer access. To justify the elimination of live phone rep’s,
    EDD started pulling people off the phone for weeks at a time back in the spring. Now they claim we are matching numbers of calls answered in half days. Meanwhile the public can’t get through for days and months at a time. Something doesn’t add up. It’s not really about getting you your benefits, folks. Instead, every effort is made to make sure you don’t get money if they can keep you from it. Make a mistake on a claim form and under report your wages? You get an overpayment notice, pay back every cent + 30% penalty and serve a false statement penalty for a minimum of 5 weeks. Have trouble getting through on the overcrowded phone line? Too bad. You’re disqualified for benefits if your claim form doesn’t arrive in 10 days.

    The accusation of laziness, favortism and nepotism in the workplace is true. In Southern California, every single manager is Hispanic and if you don’t at least have a Hispanic surname, you can’t get anywhere. And you have trouble getting a promotion if you don’t have a relative somewhere in state service. So, if a manager passes by and finds her best friend/aunt/neighbor’s niece talking on the phone/snoring/chatting with friends, the likelihood of repercussion is small and smaller. Yes, Virginia, restructuring is needed at EDD. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other dedicated, hardworking and caring workers.

    As for the huge hiring binge: EDD hired many ‘Permanent Intermittents’ – a status without security. They can reduce hours with as little as a 72 hr notice. The department spent 3 years training this large work force, but in March put a freeze in place that specifically denied them the opportunity to be hired for permanent positions. And since we PI’s are now labeled as EDD subclass, other departments don’t want us either. How on earth refusing to hire a trained, pre-screened employee for a job that is available in the department a bad financial move? Most certainly, training a new employee with no experience and no knowledge of EDD systems is going to cost more, but that’s what’s happening.

    Reply this comment
  9. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 21 December, 2013, 16:19

    What is wrong with a stimulating group bonding office party…..if you had to deal with having to give out tons of free money all the time….it is stressful….like gives ya arm cramps!

    Let them enjoy….and to the rest….do you want Fanta or China Black Tea with your sorta warm soft pretzel at your local run down covered mall.

    Reply this comment
  10. thebronze
    thebronze 23 December, 2013, 03:49

    I worked at the EDD Call Center in Sacramento for 3 yrs. It was THE WORST job of my life.

    Most of the employees are either incompetent or rude and unhelpful. There are a few that actually know their job and are good at their job. I genuinely feel sorry for ANYONE that has to deal with EDD. They’re THE WORST department in the State. Even worse than the DMV, if you can believe that.

    And management there is absolutely HORRIBLE. Incompetent people are promoted to supervisors and they have NO CLUE what they’re doing. The Office Manager was an absolute tyrant and had been kicked out of every other EDD office and the call center was stuck with her. She treated all of the employee like garbage.

    Good riddance EDD!!!

    Reply this comment

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