Sugar Center Suing Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency

The Sugar Law Center says individuals are being unjustly penalized by the state’s unemployment computer system.

Marissa Gawel/WDET

A group of Michigan citizens is suing the state’s unemployment insurance system.

They say the computer system that checks for unemployment fraud is often doing so inaccurately, and assessing penalties for as much as $20,000. Lawyers with the nonprofit Sugar Law Center are working to bring human oversight to the automated process in hopes of preventing the legal headaches and heavy fines many Michigan residents are experiencing.

Law Center Lead Attorney Tony Paris spoke with WDET’s Marissa Gawel about the case. He says the so-called “robo-adjudication” errors are relatively new.

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency has issued a statement declaring that officials have not yet seen the lawsuit. The statement says the computer system was developed in order to eliminate manual, labor-intensive processes for staff members.