Workers-rights site launched as jobless claims soar

A new Web site aptly named Can My Boss Do went public Friday, coinciding with news that the nation’s unemployment rate climbed to a 25-year high.

The brainchild of Interfaith Worker Justice provides a one-stop shop for jobless workers on their legal rights to unemployment and COBRA health insurance benefits and protections against layoffs/firings and help-wanted scams.

The site opened for business the same day the U.S. Labor Department announced that 651,000 jobs were slashed in February, raising the official unemployment rate to 8.1 percent — the highest level since the 1983 Reagan-era recession. Those losses compound the growing ranks of 12.5 million out-of-work Americans and another 8.6 million underemployed workers who can find only part-time jobs.

The true jobless rate leaps to an astronomical 14.8 percent when part-timers and “discouraged workers” — those no longer drawing unemployment benefits and not counted in official labor statistics — are factored in, according to The Associated Press.

Colorado’s unemployment figures for January are expected to be released Wednesday. February’s numbers will come out later in the month.

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Wendy Norris

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