Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I left.

Latest post 07-09-2012 11:00 AM by kevinhuge. 17 replies.
  • 07-07-2012 11:54 AM

    • dubess
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    Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I left.

    I was fired on 4/19/12 for "not being able to do my job" (have letter of recommendation from prev President who left in Nov 2011 as well as paystubs with hand written notes from new manager about my great job performance).  My unemployment claim was on hold because my employer stated I quit and was not fired.  Unemployment apparently believed me because my benefits started immediately after the phone call with unemployment. 

    Now, employer is appealing that decision, again saying I quit (same as the first reason) and that I used abusive language which is reason for immediate termination (the employer seems to be stating two different reasons - 1) I quit, 2) I used abusive language - so really, which is it?  ESC of NC letter states left work without good cause attributable to the employer GS 96-14(1)(1B)(1C)(1E) and was discharged for misconduct or substantial fault GS 96-14(2) or (2A).  Employer states I  said "I'm dont...F*** you all" and then left the premises.  What really happened – I was called into the HR’s manager’s office at approx 12:15pm.  The plant manager, was on the phone stating there was an issue with panel clips and that I was “officially fired”.  They only words I said was “ok”.  I got up, sent a text to my daughter at 12:45pm that I was done (she called and I stated I was fired) and started to pack up my office.  The head of HR came in to see if needed assistance and went to get me boxes.  My daughter arrived at the plant at 1:13pm and helped me empty my office.  Both the HR person and accounting person helped pack up my things.  The accounting person stated she couldn’t believe what was happening and the HR person stated she was sorry I was fired.  My daughter was there and heard these statements.  I never once went to the production floor and spoke with anyone (employer states I went out to the production floor and told 2 different groups I was quitting).  I left the building via a door that was approx. 15 feet from the office in a warehouse that was separate from the production floor. 

    Employer states I was warned that my job was in jeopardy.  Attached to the appeal are two written pages regarding a meeting between myself, HR person (also the controller) and the plant manager.  This is dated 4/11/12 (Wednesday).  Nowhere in the written notes does it state that my job was in jeopardy.  I was out of the office for three days the next week (Mon 4/16 to Wed 4/18).  If the notes of 4/11 were advising me to correct errors to keep my job, I was never given the opportunity to correct those errors as I was only in the office 2.5 days (Thurs 4/12, Friday 4/13 and ½ day on Thurs 4/19, the day I was fired).  There is another hand written and typed notes from a meeting of 3/2, stating areas I needed to improve.  At no point after 3/2 was I advised that my performance had not improved.  I did not sign either of the notes.

    As to my job being in jeopardy, I have a written letter of recommendation from my previous supervisor, the President stating what a valuable employee I was.  The President left the company in October 2011.  Also, I have pay stubs with handwritten notes from the new manager also stating what a good job I was doing (dated 10/7/11, 10/14/11, 10/28/11, 11/18/11, 1/27/12).  I don’t know what happened after 1/27/12 that caused me from going from a great employee to one that could not do her job.  

    I have text messages from an employee stating the plant told him I was fired (5/25/12, 2:59 pm) and from a supplier stating I was let go (5/25/12, 2:25pm).

    When I received the letter from unemployment about the appeal, I was shaking so badly I had to sit down.  Even now, I'm still shaken up.  

    I called legal aid in my state but haven't heard from the yet.  I talked to a private attorney who wanted $300 just to talk to me so that's out of the question (I am a single mom of 3 and unemployment doesn't cover my bills never mind attorney fees).

    First, I believe I was wrongfully terminated (I was doing my job as described) and 2nd, now I have the employer appeal with unemployment.  Do I have enough to prove the employer is lying?  I can guarantee that neither the employee nor the supplier will come forward on their own to state what they texted to me in fear of losing their jobs (the supplier would most likely be removed as supplier).  Can I sue the employer for lying to unemployment twice? Can I sue for causing me pain and suffering (no sleeping, generally nervous and upset about the impending appeal, etc)?  

    thanks

     

     

  • 07-07-2012 12:06 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I left.

    An appeal is not all uncommon--you need to contest/file and be heard on the narrow points employer claimed--odds favor you if you discredit the employer......



  • 07-07-2012 12:38 PM In reply to

    • cbg
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I left.

    A wrongful termination means that there exists a specific law which prohibits the employer for firing you for the reason he did. What law do you believe was violated by your termination?

  • 07-07-2012 12:59 PM In reply to

    • dubess
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    Sexual harrassment but I don't have anything in writing.  The HR manager was buddies with the plant manager and since there were only 4 of us in the offices including me, I did not feel that telling HR would do anything but make matters worse.  Up until Jan 2012, the plant manager had praised me for my great work (I have written documentation of that).  After he asked me out twice in Feb 2012 and I refused, things steadily became very bad at work - all of a sudden, I could not do anything right (I have been in this profession for over 10 years and know my job very well).  I know it was because he asked me out and I refused - I thought he was trying to force me out.  The office staff regularly worked past 5pm but I would not longer work late if I knew that it would just be the two of us there - as there had been many times in the past.  I was very nervous and afraid to be left alone with him ever.  

  • 07-07-2012 1:04 PM In reply to

    • LG81
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I left.

    dubess:
    First, I believe I was wrongfully terminated (I was doing my job as described) and 2nd, now I have the employer appeal with unemployment.

    Wrongful termination (in the legal sense) means termination for a reason prohibited by law, including discrimination because of race, sex, religion, age (if over 40), exercising a protected right (such as leave under the FMLA), participation in union organizing activites, a single garnishment or garnishment by the IRS, and certain forms of protected whistleblowing.  Nothing in your post indicates any of these reasons.

    dubess:
     I can guarantee that neither the employee nor the supplier will come forward on their own to state what they texted to me in fear of losing their jobs (the supplier would most likely be removed as supplier).

    In most UIC hearings, the employer or former employee can present witnesses.  On UIC hearings (conducted by phone) that I have sat in on, the witnesses will be told a specific time that the hearings officer will call.  The hearings officer calls at that time and has the witnesses describe what they know and will ask specific questions. I am not sure whether the hearings officer can compel someone to testify if s/he doesn't want to.  You may want to provide the texts as part of your appeal package, and that may or may not be sufficent.  Please know, however, that the former employer will receive a full copy of your appeal package prior to the hearing (just as you will receive a full copy of what the former employer presents). Whether or not you want to ask the two people to testity (and whether or not you provide the texts in your appeal) is your choice.  It is not so much the company would terminate relationships either of the parties for testifying; however, it may terminate for discussing business occurences (relaying what the employer said) with a terminated employee.  In my opinion, it would be petty to do so just for someone sending a text along the lines of, "Hey Dubess, John told me he fired you.  I am surprised, and I am going to miss working with you."  It would be petty, but I have seen it happen, and it is legal.  It wouldn't be petty, however, if they were relaying information about ongoing business matters.

    That you have written commendations up until the end of January won't make very much difference other than to possibly lend credibility to not being fired for willful/gross miscondunct.  The only reason I say "possibly" is because something appears to have changed after January; that change may have nothing to do with your performance (may be a shift in culture with a new President, or someone deciding they don't like you for whatever reason).

    dubess:

    When I received the letter from unemployment about the appeal, I was shaking so badly I had to sit down.  Even now, I'm still shaken up.  

    I called legal aid in my state but haven't heard from the yet.  I talked to a private attorney who wanted $300 just to talk to me so that's out of the question (I am a single mom of 3 and unemployment doesn't cover my bills never mind attorney fees).

    I understand it is more easily said than done, but try to not let it get you shaken up so badly.  It is not uncommon for an employer to initially contest initial UIC claims and for there to be a hearing.  Tell the truth and also decide whether or not to present the evidence you have.  The UI folks are usually pretty prompt about sending out decisions immediately after a hearing (they will not indicate the ruling during the hearing).  If you lose this first round, you generally would be afforded an opportunity to appeal.

     

  • 07-07-2012 1:06 PM In reply to

    • cbg
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    Unfortunately, if you didn't report it, you'll have a very hard time making a case for wrongful termination now. You are free to try to report it to the EEOC but don't be surprised if they can't or won't confirm it - it can and will be seen as an attempt to "get back at" the employer for firing you.

    No, you can't sue the employer for "lying" to the UI office. The UI office ASSUMES that everyone is going to lie - employers and employees alike.

  • 07-07-2012 1:10 PM In reply to

    • LG81
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    dubess:
    The HR manager was buddies with the plant manager and since there were only 4 of us in the offices including me, I did not feel that telling HR would do anything but make matters worse.  Up until Jan 2012, the plant manager had praised me for my great work (I have written documentation of that).  After he asked me out twice in Feb 2012 and I refused, things steadily became very bad at work - all of a sudden, I could not do anything right (I have been in this profession for over 10 years and know my job very well).

    You wouldn't necessarily need any written proof to prevail in a claim of sexual harrassment.  It was not sexual harrassment for the plant manager to ask you out the first time, but after you said no, he should not have asked you out a second time.  If he did stop after that, then your case would be a little weakened.  Proving that you were retaliated against for refusing his attempts could be a little difficult to prove.  That you never discussed it with anyone in a position to make it stop could also prove problematic.  While you probably do not need to hire an attorney for the first UIC hearing, you may want to consider consulting with one regarding possible sexual harrassment.

  • 07-07-2012 1:15 PM In reply to

    • dubess
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    That's why I have never brought it up - too hard to prove.

  • 07-07-2012 1:19 PM In reply to

    • dubess
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    The only thing I asked either the employee or supplier was what they heard about me leaving (did you hear I quit or was fired)?  I never contacted either again because I did not want to put them in a bad situation.

    I have contacted legal aid since I cannot afford to hire a lawyer but haven't heard from them yet.  I do plan on heading to the unemployment office next week to offer the text to the appeal and see what they say about it.  

    I do not want to lose my benefits and also do not want to cause either person to lose their income on my account but unfortunately, if it comes down to it, I have to think about my family first.

  • 07-07-2012 1:21 PM In reply to

    • dubess
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    I have to say that it is a poor system when the employer can lie to unemployment but if I were to lie when completing my weekly certification, that would be the end of my benefits.  There should be some penalty for employers who lie to unemployment just to avoid paying.   

  • 07-07-2012 2:22 PM In reply to

    • cbg
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    The problem is, it's not only employers who lie to unemployment. I once had an employee who was fired for cause, and while I won't go into detail I will say that we had the police in the office for reasons related to her termination. We could have proved sufficient cause to have benefits denied in a heartbeat, with plenty of documentation and support from law enforcement.

    When the employee filed for unemployment, she said she was let go for lack of work.

    Should there be some penalty for her, for lying to UI just to get benefits she's not otherwise entitled to? 

  • 07-07-2012 2:26 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I left.

    It is unlikely that for a noncriminal matter you will get legal aid.

    Your odds in defending/counterattacking will be much better if you use counsel --and given that in todays world one can be on UC for a considerable time, I suggest you reconsider stretching to get counsel. Odds are in your favor with counsel--at least as you post it.

    I've been out of HR for a long time but I see lousy to no  odds to prevail in a wongful termination suit

     



  • 07-07-2012 5:39 PM In reply to

    • dubess
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    Yes, same rules apply for the employer or the employee. 

  • 07-07-2012 5:43 PM In reply to

    • dubess
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    Ok, so skip the wrongful termination.  I don't really feel like fighting that battle anyway.  I'm not the type to sue just to sue.  I just want to keep my benefits until I find a job.  

  • 07-07-2012 8:11 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Employer appealing unemployment by lying about why I lef...

    poor work quality is generally NOT a winning point for mgt as to denial of UC even if proven.

    refusal to "date" a supervisor opens up all sorts of cans of worms but  I'd not lay that bomb into an UC appeal w/o counsel.



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