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a new manager firing me for doing what an arrangement that previous manager had with myself and another coworker

by James
(Berwick, PA USA)

I was employed for several months at a local grocery store. The night 1St manager had an arrangement with myself and another co-worker (who happens to be a friend) that on Monday nights we were allowed to leave at 2 A.M. and on any night that they were over staffed and there was not a larger truck load to shelf that we could leave an hour or two early. AS the store was suffering losses from hourly wages which were not being utilized to the stores benefit.. the two of us didn't need a larger income so we made a an agreement that it would save them some extra fat off the payroll to leave when work was completed. Our overseeing manager was transfered to another store to "straighten" them out and another shift manager moved into his spot and was not aware of this previous arrangement that I and the other coworker had with Manager 1 (which we later found out when we got fired for continuing to do as was agreed) .. We left as agreed on a Monday night early and nothing was said to us the following night.. Tuesday night they had a light truck load and were over staffed which we were normally sent home.. we looked around for the "new" night shift manager for about 15 minutes and could not find him so we left about 2 hours early again as we were used to.. only the original manager usually came to us and sent us home.. Upon our return on Wednesday for work we were pulled into an office and told to go home and contact the HR department as to how they would proceed to handle our situation and if it would result in discharge. We were handed pink slips and informed that we violated employee handbook rules for the previous two nights. I went to an appeal hearing and presented this and they indicated that they viewed in favor of the store. but they also noted the date that we were informed was previous to the date we were told to go home. which it was the day after the incident and we were told we would have a week before they would make a decision it was 3 days later that we were officially terminated. without giving us a week to contact the HR office to discuss the matter further. At the time I relied on the coworker for a ride and upon speaking to the store manager and asked to come into the office to hold a meeting I informed her that I could not get a ride in and asked if we could hold a phone meeting she never answered me and at the hearing stated that she had had previous conversations with me regarding the leaving early which she had not, which I clearly stated "No" we had never had that conversation. After which I contacted my "friend" and co worker and he said the conversation happened with him and the store manager. clearly she was confused. Well anyway the hearing notice of denial i received states that the date we were told was prior to us being sent home and that we continued to violate policy. We were told after the fact that we were sent home and not given a chance to resolve the matter prior to being dismissed. I want to know: If a manager made an agreement with you and a fellow worker, does that over ride the handbook? also, if the 1st manager was replaced should they not have informed the supervisor who took charge of the shift that we were allowed to leave early Monday nights and that when they were over staffed that we were allowed to leave once the work was caught up? Also, If we were informed after the fact, not giving us a chance to correct our errors, does that give them grounds to deny our unemployment benefits..After all how can you do better if you are not aware of the mistakes you are making.. this all occurred from the 12th to the 18th and on the 19th we were informed that we were to go home and asked to sign the pink slips..on the 12th, the night supervisor had a conversation with me and I informed him that there was an agreement made with the previous night manager that my coworker and I had to leave at 2 AM on Mondays as he had to be somewhere by 3 AM but the supervisor never asked me to sign a pink slip and never said that I was doing anything wrong.. my family moved out of the state and I elected to return in hopes that i could find another job but i have no money to go looking and i have been a burden to another family for the time this is taking Oh by the way my co worker actually was approved for unemployment while i was denied.. so i still think i can appeal this again and possibly win. but i dont want them to withdraw his unemployment as we both feel that we were ill advised prior to being discharged. Thank you for your time.



Hi James,

Although I can't be sure what was different for your friend to get benefits and you didn't, I can say I don't think an appeal to the board of review will do any good .. not based on anything you said here.

A verbal agreement with one manager does not overide the handbook .. a written agreement might.

Did you have your friend as a witness?

I'm also having a problem with your claim that you were never warned by the new manager prior to being fired. And it's all due to this .. whether verbal or written.

"this all occurred from the 12th to the 18th and on the 19th we were informed that we were to go home and asked to sign the pink slips..on the 12th, the night supervisor had a conversation with me and I informed him that there was an agreement made with the previous night manager"

I also have a problem with you saying you agreed to leave early when there was no work because you didn't need the money due to this ..

"AS the store was suffering losses from hourly wages which were not being utilized to the stores benefit.. the two of us didn't need a larger income so we made an agreement"

and followed up by ..

my family moved out of the state and I elected to return in hopes that i could find another job but i have no money to go looking and i have been a burden to another family.

Not to mention the fact that if you take a close look at the employee handbook .. I'll just bet under the rule that says you must have permission or at the very least "notify the employer" you will be leaving work .. the consequences most likely include "Immediate termination".

If I can pick up on things that damage your credibility in a story where you are trying to relate the strengths of your appeal .. imagine how youu must have appeared at the hearing.

PA hearing referees are given wide latitude in judging the credibility of what someone testifies to .. clearly the referee found the employer testimony more credible than they did yours.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh .. because it's never my intention, but being an employee carries large responsibilities. Not only to the employer, but to ourselves. Almost every employee is a subordinate to someone else and when your supervisor changes you become the subordinate of the new supervisor.

Incidentally, if you really wanted to prove your case you should have had the previous manager subpoenaed to the hearing .. to corroborate at least that there was an informal agreement and that the your leaving work early was an inadvertent good faith error in judgment .. once. Twice becomes misconduct .. even after just one conversation on the 12th.

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Feb 18, 2010
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thank you for your tips
by: Anonymous

yes there was a witness the person who was terminated with me and is collecting the unemployment. thank you for the tips.. I will try to either get him or the previous night manager to submit a statement on my behalf..

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