So .. the big question I had about unemployment insurance benefits eleven years ago, after I was laid off from a job title that implied I had consulted and then coordinated unemployment appeal hearings daily for years, for the benefit of employers, was if I share the same basic information, with an employee/claimant, so they could also understand what goes into proving the burden of good cause to quit, or rebutting (disproving) the employer fired the employee for work related misconduct .. would anyone take note of how often I would have to use the word "burden", or that it is assigned to the moving party that ended the employment relationship ....
Time isn't all employees are required to trade, to earn the money that affords them a living.
At will employment also requires an employee to be subordinate to reasonable rules, policies, expectations and standards of behavior an employer has a right to expect .. even those employers who are also employees given the authority to direct and control your actions and work.
What a business entity and the employee it has given the authority to be your boss at work cannot demand of you .. is ignoring your own reasonable right to create a paper trail to prove when the business entity, or it's boss that acts as it's agent, was ultimately at fault, or just acting unreasonably itself, in the face of a reason with potential good cause to quit .. or to rebut effectively, your own guilt of misconduct .. when the burden of proof is an employers to prove.
What is an "employer", if not another employee, who literally animates a business entity.
By the time 2006 rolled around and I was laid off for a lack of work, while on an approved FMLA leave, I was long over the compulsion to be blindly loyal to an employer. If that bother you, I don't really care, because that's the attitude my job trained me to have. Fortunately, it is also what allowed me to protect myself .. from my own employer .. after I was laid off.
Not one to ignore my intuition, mine got a real work out when I lost my job through no fault of my own in 2006
If I learned anything coordinating unemployment hearings .. it's that whether the plan is to collect, or deny unemployment benefits, it's always best to focus on relevant facts that can be proven and documenting the truth, or a fabrication is what gives words weight.
In 2006 my gut was telling me something was amiss with the date I was to be laid off .. which was the same as the date I was expecting to return to work from an approved FMLA leave .. and I might have to prove something to save the benefits I knew I should collect.
I knew my job had been existing under threat of elimination due to a recent buyout and a common business problem of human asset redundancy. However, when I heard the last day for my job, I simply began thinking strategically if I might have to appeal.
Believe me .. I know there are ways to strategically use what an employee doesn't know about UI to deny even those out sick, before they return from an approved medical leaves.
I checked the dates on the FMLA paperwork I'd received from the leave management company, while I was in the hospital first.
The return to work date on the employer's paperwork was a week earlier from the earliest date my doctor had told me I would be able to return to work .. which coincidentally would of been the date my job was going to be eliminated.
Naturally, I started thinking of reasons for intentionally changing the date on the FMLA paperwork. What I knew was those who do not get back to work by a RTW (return to work) and employer now has some support for a very common response to a notice of unemployment claim filed .. after a leave is up.
"Claimant voluntarily quit employment by failing to return from a leave of absence" ..
Suffice it to say, I bet my booty and was off the couch I'd been laying on recovering.. to wage an email campaign to get the leave mgmt. company to change the date.
Imagine that .. resistance from the leave management company .. even after I had to explain my doctor was on a European vacation and wouldn't be back until a week after the anticipated layoff date to submit new paperwork, or even see me .. to adjust the date to ensure I could be able and available to RTW in time to be laid off.
They finally relented when they allowed me until the date of my layoff to get the additional paperwork to them. Yet because I'd been an employee of an unemployment cost control company and I was still rather addicted to clarifying conversations I had "off the record" I knew could be difficult to "prove", I made sure I had an email .. in case I needed it later to prove a point for the sake of my unemployment benefits.
When I was all better .. per my doctor, I applied for unemployment and began a grueling search for new suitable work, required by my state department of labor.
While still waiting for the monetary determination (the first initial determination that tells you how much .. per week) my former employer contacted me again .. only this time they decided to email me.
In writing, they asked, if I would please come in to apply for open positions within the company.
Not exactly what I'd call a bona fide offer of suitable employment, but hey .. I was looking for a job because I still needed one to live .. even if I was looking for jobs outside the realm of my last job experience experience managing UI appeals for employers.
I saw the offer as being a way for my former employer to toy with me and my benefits, if I refused to apply.
(You know what they say about writing about something vs. talking .. If it wasn't written down somewhere, could it of really happened?)
Emails are very useful when you need to differentiate between an offer of suitable work and an unsuitable offer among some other finer details related to UI law.
I wasn't jumping for joy when the offer of work was to be a TAX auditor.. but that was the offer emailed to me and refusing the offer would of been the wrong move for someone who needed a job .. at least while collecting unemployment benefits.
I can't say, I didn't feel like I'd lucked out, when I received the phone call letting me know the offer of work to be a tax auditor was being withdrawn, due to a company wide hiring freeze.
Of course, I didn't any of that when I emailed the person who was now calling to let me know me for the sole purpose of verifying there was no job to go back to anymore.
My emails came in handy.
I sent the last one to the state department of labor and employment, when they called to say an eligibility issue on my claim had been raised. I knew how that happened .. it was an informational letter sent by my former employer suggesting I'd refused an offer of suitable work.
See the plan .. undermine the plan .. by simply documenting the truth so it can become the credible FACTS in the event the most common appellant (employers) appeal your benefits.
If only my unemployment story had ended with me finding another job, or exhausting my 26 weeks trying to find one.
A few month later, they finally offered me my original job back, only now I would be doing it as a temp employee of a staffing agency (also a client of my former employer)
Great .. they beat me .. by putting me in the hard to break unending loop of being an on demand worker after the six months assignment was over.
I finally quit that six month temp assignment to be a hearing coordinator.. close to three years later in 2009 with a massive job recession still seemingly in full swing, at least from the perspective of unemployment hearings.
I knew working on demand temporarily .. was my choice in the first place, but it was not one I was willing to live with for the rest of my life, or a job that could get me to ignore what I had to do objectively for the benefit of my own health.
So, at will I decided to listen to my gut again and make sure before I quit the "temp assignment" I felt I could prove was for a good cause reason .. and one that stood the test of any employer I knew would appeal benefits if received, to the lower level tribunal.
Fortunately, the board of review dismiss my former employer(s) second appeal when it found the tribunal hearing decision was correct.
Wish I had a microphone to drop from this soapbox of a website .. I'd been working on without pay, the whole time while I worked that temp job.
But alas .. when one job ends and you personally feel like benefits are the ball and chain holding you back, you have to find more ways to actually work for your living.
I use the blogging form below .. when I believe an employee could use some Work Smart News (name of the newsletter I've not gotten around to sending out as of yet.)
Growing up I heard, "work smart, not harder" more than I care to admit now.
It was not meant, by my hard working parents, that I should be lazy, careless, or negligent, but a reminder that when I didn't use my head, no matter the chore and finally an at-will job at an amusement park in front oI could minimize any regrets from a personal decision, I didn't spend a bit of time thinking out .. before making it.
Unemployment questions are from my perspective of the job described above, to be quite similar to another as most are asked from hindsight.
That's a problem for unemployed claimants because the problems now relate to not only how unemployment insurance benefits will work out, but relative to questions I know are best resolved while still an employee.
What decisions do employees make, or not make, that affect the UI benefits positively, or negatively? Those made after looking forward to how facts play together .. or not, for their own best interests as an unemployed person.
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