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Refusing “suitable” job offer could stop unemployment checks, state says

Knoxville business owners say it is hard for them to even get people in to interview
Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Some East Tennessee businesses continue to struggle with filling job positions, especially in the service industry.

The biggest challenge for jobs like Double Dogs in West Knoxville is bringing people in the restaurant for an in-person job interview, according to General Manager John Steed.

While Steed said he doesn’t know exactly why people aren’t flooding the place, he told WVLT News the Department of Labor and Workforce Development asked him to report when people are saying no to a suitable job offer. The state said it would launch an investigation and could cut off unemployment checks if they prove fraud.

“I’ve seen a couple of applications where people haven’t worked since last May, but those people never came for an interview,” Steed said.

Other business owners and elected officials have told WVLT News they’ve found some people aren’t willing to give up their unemployment checks.

“It would have to be a really bad application for us not to call them {applicants},” Steed said.

The staffing shortage at the Kingston Pike location has created issues for current employees like Krista Dodds who works six-day work weeks. The aspiring college student works at Double Dogs where the workload is heavy.

Her boss said fewer employees keep them from serving at full capacity.

“We knew this day would come,” Steed said.

In May, Governor Bill Lee announced the state will not accept federal dollars for the additional $300 unemployment checks.

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