Ex-judge: I opposed pro-employer boss, was fired

A former chief judge for the state agency that hears unemployment cases said Tuesday that he was fired because he stood up to his boss, who he said asserted her bias toward employers over workers.

Joe Walsh oversaw 15 unemployment appeals judges from 2010 until his dismissal in 2013.

On Tuesday, he told the Senate Government Oversight Committee that Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert pushed him to develop tip sheets to help businesses avoid paying unemployment benefits and took other steps that signaled she was inserting her personal political beliefs into the job.

“She instructed me to gather data on the judges to determine which judges were more likely to rule in favor of employers,” he said.

Walsh said he was initially hired as a merit employee, which protects certain state workers from being fired for political reasons.

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