ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — For 26 years, Ernest Ray worked at a company in southwest Virginia that made compressors, in a physically demanding job that involved night shifts on a factory floor. When the plant closed in 2018, Ray applied for and received about $9,000 in unemployment benefits.

Three years later, Ray is fighting the Virginia Employment Commission in court as the agency tries to take the money back. It’s a case that, as Ray’s pro bono attorney sees it, illustrates the ethos of a radically dysfunctional agency.

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