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Employer disputes UI claim: "willful misconduct"

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Latest post Thu, Aug 26 2010 9:10 AM by PattyPA. 10 replies.
  • Sun, Feb 15 2009 8:03 PM

    Question [=?] Employer disputes UI claim: "willful misconduct"

    I was fired from a job 1-month ago.

    Employer verbally did not give me a reason.

    Throughout the time I was employed (less than one year), there was a personality clash with my boss.

    I performed the duties of my work as assigned, was never late, nor did I have an attendance issue.

    Boss just did not like me and that is not illegal.

    I understand at-will employment "let go at any time for any reason."

    Boss wrote me up on personality issues that he tried to identify as work related. But there was nothing to prove "willful misconduct."

    It's a "he said/she said issue."

    Of course as a former employee I'd like to think I wasn't at fault. The mistake I made was taking the job in the first place. I was overqualified for the entry-level job. I'm 42 with some formal education. But I did not do anything that would cause any problems in my work.

    I even received emails from my boss and clients that praised my work.

    As time went on, boss just did not like me and chose to do what he did so that I would not remain with the Co.

    I kept emails and sent emails to my boss asking for feedback in writing, and boss always refused. Boss would verbalize I'm doing fine, but then chose to put me on a Performance Plan.

    I have no proof of my truth other than what I'm writing here and the emails from the boss indicating in a short sentance, "good job."

    I've been collecting unemployment out of state since I recently moved down here for the job and didn't earn enough in this state to collect, so I filed in my former state where my income was substantial and that is where the UI is coming from.

    And for some reason, 4-weeks later, I get a letter in the mail indicating my present employer is claiming "willful misconduct."

    The UI claims office out of state is 3000 miles away. So, it's all I have is a letter and I have to respond with my explanation as to why I was fired. I will say, I wasn't given a reason which is the truth.

    How can I defend myself against an employer that claims "willful misconduct" when in truth I didn't do anything to deliberately cause myself to get fired. I did outstanding in my training with the Co., and subsequently received a "good job" email from the boss and one client.

    That's all I have for the record. Plus I have the Performance Plan which lists false statements about my work and interactions with the boss.

    I am unable to find an attorney who will represent me since there is no real discrimination issue. And I'm sure many are booked up with costly class actions and other files that wouldn't put me in a high priority list.

    But if my unemployment stops then I'd have to pay back whatever I received plus lose my home and be at rock bottom.

    Fact: I didn't do anything to cause myself to get fired.

    Fact: It's not illegal for a boss to dislike an employee and write what ever they decide on a Performance Plan.

    Fact: at-will employment 'anytime for any reason'

    Question: Does at-will in and of itself support the denial of my unemployment claim that falsely accuses me of "willful misconduct?"

    It wasn't willful, so what can I do?
  • Sun, Feb 15 2009 10:08 PM In reply to

    • Drew
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,431

    re: Employer disputes UI claim: "willful misconduct"

    Generally the employer has a burden to prove its willful misconduct and the system may lean a bit pro employee if there is any doubt--but if you fail to show up and make a credible defense at hearing you hand the employer a free slam dunk win.

    1st level hearings can be rather informal and not everyone shows up with counsel--but a no show may seal your fate.

  • Sun, Feb 15 2009 10:12 PM In reply to

    Question [=?] follow up question

    The UI is coming from out of State.

    My prev employer is in the State I reside in now.

    I didn't earn enough money from this former employer to collect and so the UI is coming from my prev job (out of State).

    It's not my former out of state job that's contesting, it's my most recent employer in the State I reside in now.

    So, a hearing wouldn't be possible. I received a letter from the out of state UI office.

    How to proceed from here?

    Thank you for your time.
  • Mon, Feb 16 2009 10:32 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: follow up question

    Write up your response, if that is what they are asking. Attach copies of relevant documents, but don't overburden your reply with voluminous copies of email, etc.

    Tell the UI people that it would be difficult and expensive for you to come back for a hearing, if one were to be scheduled. Ask if a telephone hearing would be permitted, if a hearing is deemed necessary.
  • Mon, Feb 16 2009 1:25 PM In reply to

    Thank you

    Thank you kindly for your suggestion.

    I agree, I won't overwhelm the UI with "all" the emails. That would put anyone to sleep.

    I've got my emails sorted out and will attach only the short, brief, relevent ones with my statement.

    I'm glad this board exists. Nice to have this available as a helpful resource.

    One thing I noticed on the form is that it says "This Claim is Unappealable."

    I will do my best and just present the truth.
  • Mon, Feb 16 2009 2:31 PM In reply to

    • Drew
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,431

    re: Thank you

    Be sure your response is to the position and issues being challanged .

  • Sat, Mar 28 2009 3:40 AM In reply to

    rec'd notice from PA UE of willful misconduct accusation

    I sent my paperwork with my UE claims paperwork to substantiate my efforts to do intentionally well in my job.

    The response I rec'd was employer is claiming "willful misconduct."

    It's as though the paperwork I sent to PA UE was never even read. And I both faxed and certified mailed 10-pages.

    Initially the claim form indicated "not appealable document." Now the new paperwork asserting the same claim (willful) allows for an appeal.

    I live in Florida and the employer was in FL. I only worked in FL for 7 months and that is why the UE claim was reopened in PA. I'm here, and the claim money I'm trying to reclaim is from up there PA UE.

    I can't find a PA atty that will represent me because I live down here. I've tried calling a few attys up there. It's not like I don't have an appealable situation. I do.

    What I don't have is the PA UE notes from the discussion of my FL employer indicating the REASON they're asserting for willful misconduct.

    Don't you agree that I need that information? And if so, can I get it from the PA UE office over the phone (preferably in writing) in order for me to be able to appeal?

    I already requested in my prev paperwork to have them mail me (email and/or fax) the exact words employer said that substantiates their claim of willful misconduct.

    Q: Do I need an atty to get the reason for willful misconduct from PA UE?

    Q: If I do get the reason, do I then need an atty to appeal?

    Q: We know "at-will" employment exists. I was in a non-union Co. If employer asserts such and such statements (which quite honestly would be false), would my statement of "that is false" to a PA UE claims adjuster be enough? (in addition to my positive performance review?)

    Q: Would an atty even take a case like this in today's economy for a single individual who is 40 years old and presently unemployed and still looking for work?







  • Sat, Mar 28 2009 8:35 AM In reply to

    Re: rec'd notice from PA UE of willful misconduct accusation

    If the out of state agency is conducting the hearing, you may be able to participate by phone.  Do not give up your right to partifcipate.


    Many at will employees are legally fired for reasons that do no amount to wilful misconduct.  It may not be as hard to find an attorney as you think.  UC cases are of relatively short duration, and many attorneys will charge only a modest flat fee.

  • Wed, Apr 15 2009 4:00 PM In reply to

    rec'd notice from PA UE of willful misconduct accusation

    I did not give up my legal right to appeal.

    I paid an attorney to file the appeal paperwork on my behalf since I reside out of State and the UE claim is being handled in another State.

    I received the acknowledgment from the UE office that the appeal paperwork has been received.

    ** A telephone appeal mediation date has not been established.**

    Q: How long can it take for a telephone appeal mediation appointment to take place from the time the appeal paperwork has been received? (I realize that's a general question).

    Q: Since I paid the attorney to file the paperwork and represent me during the telephone appeal, should I call the attorney to find out how long it will take for a mediation appointment to be set up?

    Perhaps it's not my attorney's responsibility to contact UE and find out when the phone mediation date is set. Do I just sit back and wait to see when I hear back from the UE office in writing? They won't speak with me on the phone since I am legally represented.

    My UE money has been suspended until this appeal process is resolved. I have no income coming in and my savings is draining out.

    Q: If an appeal mediation date is set and both sides (me/atty & former employer) present the facts - approximately how long does it take to hear back regarding a final decision?

    I am very comfortable with the facts (documents) I presented to my atty which does put me (legally) in a favorable position of not having done anything "willful" that would prevent me from being eligible to receive benefits.

    I just don't know how long this appeal process and final outcome decision takes.

    Thank you again for reading my post.



  • Wed, Aug 25 2010 8:08 PM In reply to

    • millions
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Wed, Aug 25 2010
    • AZ
    • Posts 1

    Re: Employer disputes UI claim: "willful misconduct"


    I was not able to get my Unemployment Checks either. I worked for my former employer for a year and a half (1 1/2) and performing all my duties but they still wrote me up. After getting a job after that, I worked for six (6) months to see if the employer wanted to hire me and since I was doing an excellent job, my former employer has me fillout paperwork so that they can keep me for six more months. After twelve (12) months of employment, they stated that I didn't do any work! I was not able to get my unemployment checks for these two employers. If I found a lawyer that would take my case, I would be in court right now.



  • Thu, Aug 26 2010 9:10 AM In reply to

    Re: Employer disputes UI claim: "willful misconduct&quo...

    millions, since this thread was started a year and a half ago, I'm sure the issue has been resolved  by now.  Please  do not  post to long dead threads.  If you have a question of your own, please start your own thread.  Thank you.

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