Termination for "good cause"?

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Latest post 09-27-2011 12:40 PM by Drew. 8 replies.
  • 09-18-2011 5:25 PM

    Termination for "good cause"?

    I was recently terminated from a position I held for almost 5 years.  The situation was that I worked for a call center and had a bad call where the caller made a complaint against me.  It was the first and only complaint in all the itme I worked there but the manager stated that termination was likely.  However, because I left that day, being very upset at what I felt was a most unfair situation, I was considered as a "voluntary quit" on the denial letter.

    6 working days later after the fact, I was told that I was "not being fired for the call but because I left that day".  However, when I got the denial from the Office of Employment it stated that I was denied because I "voluntarily quit".  I follwed their rules the entire week following the incident and called in as being not present every day.  I was paid "sick leave" for the following Monday on my final check.  I have researched many sites but have not been able to find what constitutes "good cause' in KY, where I live. I cannot affford a lawyer but would like some help in where to locate the laws myself.

    Is anyone out there able to help?

  • 09-18-2011 5:41 PM In reply to

    Re: Termination for "good cause"?

    tessiewebb:
    However, because I left that day, being very upset at what I felt was a most unfair situation, I was considered as a "voluntary quit" on the denial letter.

    From and UI benefits standpoint walking off the job can be viewed as voluntarily quitting in order to deny benefits.

    tessiewebb:
    I have researched many sites but have not been able to find what constitutes "good cause' in KY, where I live.

    Good cause generally is illegal discrimination or sexual harassment as a reason to leave a job and collect UI benefits.  Walking off the job because you are upset that they might terminate you:  not really.  Had you continued to work and they fired you because of one customer complaint: you almost certainly would have been eligible for UI benefits because that likely would not have risen to the level of gross misconduct.

    Every state allows you to appeal a denial of benefits for free.  You can do so until your appeal rights run out.  I would go ahead and appeal while looking for another job ASAP.  Odds are though that it is not likely to be over turned.  

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 09-18-2011 6:38 PM In reply to

    • Cica
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    Re: Termination for "good cause"?

    tessiewebb:
    However, because I left that day, being very upset at what I felt was a most unfair situation, I was considered as a "voluntary quit" on the denial letter ... I cannot affford a lawyer but would like some help in where to locate the laws myself.

    I know of no State nor Federal law that defines job abandonment.  I believe that is basically an employer thing with policies and procedures.  (Check with an attorney.).

    It's unclear what you mean by "I left that day ... '  Are you describing how you felt AFTER your shift ended; or are you stating that you left BEFORE your shift finanlized?

    tessiewebb:
    I follwed their rules the entire week following the incident and called in as being not present every day. 
     

    Were you sick?  Did you have a Dr's note?  Or were you putting up a "protest," so to speak?

    And, why are you searching "good cause?"  To support the absenteeism?  ClydesMom gave a couple of examples that constitute "good cause," and other things would include OSHA-related work conditions.  But  because you disapprove of a customer's complaint is not good reason to leave, and, therefore, is not "good cause."

    You may always appeal the UI decision.

     

  • 09-18-2011 6:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Termination for "good cause"?

    tessiewebb:
    However, because I left that day, being very upset at what I felt was a most unfair situation, I was considered as a "voluntary quit" on the denial letter.

    The employer can write just about anything as a challenge to your benefits and get you denied. It's possible that all he wrote was that you left that day and didn't come back. It's possible that he didn't mention anything about his intent to terminate your employment.

    If you can convince the unemployment agency that you left in anticipation of termination you might win your benefits.

    The following is a link to appellate decisions in KY. It's a long document and the pages aren't individually numbered on the pages but are numbered at the top of your browser. Go to the 374th page and read item 7625 - Voluntary Quit Prior to Discharge.

    http://oet.ky.gov/des/pubs/ui/uidigest.pdf

    The decision is listed as "precedent" which means that the UI agency has to abide by it.

    However, the burden of proving that you walked off the job is on the employer. That's easy for him to prove because that's what you did.

    The burden of proving that you did it in anticipation of termination is on you.

     

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    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 09-18-2011 7:38 PM In reply to

    • LG81
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    Re: Termination for "good cause"?

    tessiewebb:
    I cannot affford a lawyer but would like some help in where to locate the laws myself.

    Unemployment qualification decisions are most often set by case law.  The cite given in the last post is a great example (a precedent) as to why I believe you are facing an uphill battle.  All you can do is appeal (until all appeals are exhausted) and give the facts of your side of the story, and the employer will do the same.  I've never had to deal with UI in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  However, in many unemployment hearings I have sat in on from the employer's side, I have generally found the hearings administrators (called diffrent titles in different states) are quite reasonable and objective.  They are very skilled at bringing things back on track if either side gets side-tracked or begins to behave inappropriately.

    Where I see your issue (especially in light of the cited case) is that, in a way, you did sort of quit in anticipation of termination.  You not only took the rest of that day off for "mental health" but also the subsequent days.  That could be looked at in many ways.  One could even look at it as though you were trying to use up all your sick days in anticipation of termination. Furthermore, although the employer indicated the complaint could lead to termination, the employer had not actually terminated you yet.  There was a possibility that things could have been worked out.

    Your post does not indicate whether the supervisor actually listened to the call (sometimes - or even often--  call center calls are recorded).  If s/he hadn't listened to the call, then s/he is just dealing with the caller's complaint.  If it were the latter, you may have been given an opportunity to further explain the issues, where you may have been at fault, where you may have been right, and whether the caller was just plain rude.  (Depending on the type of call center, some customers can just be nasty and complain when they don't get the answer they want.)  On the other hand, the termination could have been inevitable, but it was still on you to stick it out.

    I wish you the best of luck in your appeal, but also hope you learn from the experience.  If you lose the first one, you can keep appealing up to KY's limit.  Please understand, however, that if you win the appeal, the employer can also continue to exhaust all permitted appeals.

  • 09-18-2011 10:57 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Termination for "good cause"?

    Read the case law posted above  and be very careful with your words. Better to use counsel if possible.

    I've been out of HR a while--but the general concepts still are back in  of my head----

    Note with care

    1. If you merely walked of the job --you essentially quit--and that's usually fatal to collection of UC.

    2. However  if the  supervisor said in relatively clear words  I'm going to fire you, you will be fired  or words wich left no doubt in your mind you were history --then you were fired.

          I think a lot hinges on  what the supervisor said and what you heard .  The supervisor may have phrased it in context of 'you will be lucky if I don't fire you'-'I have a good mind to fire you'---and you heard it in context of "i AM going to fire you--you will be out of here.  THINK before  you answer.............

    Be careful not to get into a dance  about we could have worked it out but I didn't really try to----that generally a fatal line to take.

    Don't be surprised if supervisor now says there was no mention of you were fired or to be fired.....



  • 09-27-2011 10:44 AM In reply to

    Re: Termination for "good cause"?

    Drew:

    Read the case law posted above  and be very careful with your words. Better to use counsel if possible.

    I've been out of HR a while--but the general concepts still are back in  of my head----

    Note with care

    1. If you merely walked of the job --you essentially quit--and that's usually fatal to collection of UC.

    2. However  if the  supervisor said in relatively clear words  I'm going to fire you, you will be fired  or words wich left no doubt in your mind you were history --then you were fired.

          I think a lot hinges on  what the supervisor said and what you heard .  The supervisor may have phrased it in context of 'you will be lucky if I don't fire you'-'I have a good mind to fire you'---and you heard it in context of "i AM going to fire you--you will be out of here.  THINK before  you answer.............

    Be careful not to get into a dance  about we could have worked it out but I didn't really try to----that generally a fatal line to take.

    Don't be surprised if supervisor now says there was no mention of you were fired or to be fired.....

      Thank you for this.  I did walk out, however, I notified them I was leaving and at any other time the worst that would have happened is I'd have been assigned "attendance points" which I could have afforded well enough since I had few others.   I gave this and the other post careful thought in my written appeal.  Just got the reply yesterday and am waiting for the dreaded "conference call" which is a required step.  I am not good at speaking up for myself, tend to get teary if frustrated or angry and fear the ones my employer chooses will be better at it if only because they are not emotionally involved.  The firing came after 5 years of misery and frustration so I have a lot of pent up stuff about it.  I'm sure they will say that there was no mention of firing me though the implication was certainly clear enough in body language, facial expressions and unspoken pauses, all of which I am pretty good at reading.  Thanks again and I will certainly do my best to remember not to get into "a dance about we could have worked it out".  Great advice!

     

  • 09-27-2011 12:33 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Termination for "good cause"?

    Suggestions:

    Put your notes in large print right next to you so you can read them--physically check off the points as made, if appropriate.  Employer  bears initial burden to show you 'quit" --listen and keep track of what employer is saying--and to extent possible, respond when its your turn by clearly denying each point made by employer with a fact in opposition to same --and don't wander off  about 5 years of misery and frustration.  Stay on point--you were fired --ultimatum of get out of here ..or as close to that as facts support .

    Remember perception is in eye of beholder--and if I blow my cool at some bunbling subordinate and shout out "Get the heck out of here , you belong working for  XYZ" --have I fired you or merely tossed you out of my office. What I said and what you heard may be two different things?

    1.  I 'd stay away from trying to address facial expressions and tea leaves---you want to be crystal clear in your mind to greatest extent possible and present same that boss fired you  --no ifs ands or buts about it--you were history  if thats the fact pattern.

     

    2. If in the past to simply go home would be charged as attendance points--thats fine--but  it discredits your position of you were fired. I would NOT be first to open that can of worms

       2.1 In the past if somebody went home to cool off--what was par as to cooling down and returning --and did you do so or did you stay longer or fail to return when requested to do so.  If cooling off was par--and management  says (not you)  you were given tacit permission to go cool down--then at that moment the issue changes to your not being fired as they claim  but failure to return is the quit  --at least in thier story line.

        2.2 I think going home to cool down is problematice for either side to address as an established practice--and I would not  want to open that Pandora's box if I could avoid it.

     



  • 09-27-2011 12:40 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Termination for "good cause"?

     

    I think you are on downhill side of problem if you get into calling in sick when not really sick --unless you have solid evidence as to very liberal past policy.  Example--Company may be very very lax about starting on time even though policy says you must be at desk on time --if you come in 10 minutes late some  Thursday its possilbe you get fired for misconduct  due to policy violation and it sticks to deny you UC--even if at same time others come in 25 minutes late!

    4 friends take a "mental health day-"--get seen playing golf--only 2 get fired.  Life is not mechanically fair.

     

    I have a real problem with 5-6 mental health days !!

     



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