The Oregon Employment Department has been overwhelmed by claims from nearly 400,000 Oregonians who filed for unemployment benefits because of COVID-19. Many claimants report they can't reach the agency or get benefits.

In written testimony to the House Business and Labor Committee on May 27, ODE claims adjudicator Adam Lane blamed agency management.

"The department's refusal to permit telework has been disastrous," Lane said. "The work my colleagues and I do can absolutely be done from home, and the department has essentially conceded as such—but they still refuse to allow it. All of the department's representations as to why telework is not possible have been misleading or factually inaccurate."

Lane's boss is expected to answer committee questions May 27. An agency spokesperson didn't respond to a request for comment.