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U.S. Labor Department Accused Of Bias

Thu, 06/06/2013 - 2:01pm

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida agency in charge of job creation on Wednesday accused the U.S. Department of Labor of conducting a politicized investigation against it.

An attorney for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity sent a letter to federal lawmakers and the federal Department of Labor's Inspector General, asking for an inquiry of the federal agency's probe of the state agency.

"DEO's conclusion is that the initial determination is seriously flawed, resulting from a questionable investigatory process that appears calculated to have reached a predetermined and highly politicized result," said Robert Sechen, general counsel for the Department of Economic Opportunity in a letter.

In an email, the federal agency said it doesn't comment on pending investigations.

"We will continue to try to conciliate this matter, and the state may raise any concerns it has in this forum or others under the department's formal procedures," the statement said.

The federal agency in April found that Florida's online application requirement for people seeking unemployment insurance was a violation of civil rights and nondiscrimination laws.

The Miami Workers Center filed a November 2011 complaint alleging that the state's Unemployment Compensation Program was inaccessible to people with disabilities and those with limited English skills. It's now called the Reemployment Assistance Program.

Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott has been at odds with the Obama administration on several issues, including the new federal health care law and high speed rail.

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