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About Chris .. 

I want to be clear,  at least to those who made it this far to read about who I am, where I'm coming from, or to find a blog submission form for a suggestion for an answer about unemployment benefits

My name is Chris and I am the woman, not the "guy"  who was driven to answer other unemployment questions ten years ago.

I also had an underlying motive for doing so, I wanted to learn how to build a business website .. on a budget, so one day I could choose not to be an at-will employee and instead have an online store to sell handmade items I enjoy making.

That I even know how unemployment benefits basically work, comes from working the unemployment appeal process of multiple states, as an employee of a business category aptly labeled, unemployment claims management up until 2009.  

I never represented employers, but I did prepare cases for appeal hearings while I helped employers who were clients of the companies I worked for.  I also contracted the independent hearing reps who did in fact improve the odds of winning by controlling  what the direct witness would say (the right stuff) needed to deny benefits to meet, or rebut the burden of proving their testimony, as being the more credible testimony heard at a lower level tribunal appeal hearing.

C'mon .. don't tell me you surprised a business model exists to work quietly and diligently in the background to effectively deny benefits as a means to reduce a thing called an unemployment tax experience rating.

And whether the specific reason for this fight  is right, wrong, or indifferent to the truth about a separation.

Well, it was an experience alright, and one that prepared me for 2006 when I apparently became the assumed ignorant and redundant employee to deserve the boot, shortly before the great recession was declared official.

I should mention I was laid off while on an approved FMLA leave, shortly after my former employer sold out and I was acquired as an employee the giant in this industry who bought them.

My new employer, to their credit, responded properly to the notice of claim filed that I had been "laid off for a lack of work".  Yet as a side note, that was only after they tried and failed, to mess with the return to work date on my FMLA paperwork to show I had voluntarily quit when I failed to return to work on my RTD.

But what really bothered me to no end, came after I began collecting benefits.  

This company must of followed up with two informational letters.  (I'm assuming they were responsible anyway .. given the questions asked by the claims adjudicator investigating the additional conditional issues raised, when I was called .. two different times.

The first time they wanted to know if I had been released to work by a doctor.  I had the same paperwork my employer had been provided, showing when my doctor said I was able and available to work.  

The second piece of information caused the unemployment department to ask me flat out, why I had refused an offer of continuing suitable work.  

To this, I simply explained the new job offer had been withdrawn due to a company wide hiring freeze.  And I would be happy to fax a confirming email exchange between me and the branch manager .. as proof of when and why the offer of the new position in the company had been taken off the table.

By then I was thinking .. good riddance to any job in unemployment, but still thinking Thank Goodness I had the experience of not only coordinating, but evaluating the merits of appeals before hearings.   In doing so, I was taught the real value of not being a doormat at-will employee, but one who documents as if their livelihood, or the safety net of benefits, could depend on a minor OCD complex about proving the crap that happened at work .. someday. 

About four months of uninterupted benefits later,  I decided when not searching and applying for jobs, (since I had already cleaned the basement of junk .. selling it on ebay),  "what the heck" why not pay for a year of SBI since it sounded like a workable and hones small biz website building solution (SBI now stands for Solo Build It! vs. Site Build It!) and just find out if I could even build a website.

At about the same time, my former manager and still a dear friend of mine, called me to extend a new offer of suitable work.  (She was embarrassed, to ask, but hey, good employees, do what they're told, even if they question why).

The embarrassment  was because I would come back as a benefitless temp employee of a staffing agency.  That the temp agency was a client of my former employer wasn't lost on me .. or my manager.

Oh the sweet irony of  knowing when your back really has been pushed up against a wall.

By 2009, I'd had enough of being a temp employee, but even more than enough of coordinating unemployment hearings to the tune of about three hundred a week.  As unfortunate as it was to develop another health issue, the way the temp agency handled me informing them of what my doctor told me, I was forced into making an objective decision regarding my health .. and quit the temp assignment that had lasted nearly three years.

The temp agency, a client of the UCM I was still working for,  didn't seem to get what good cause to quit was because when I contacted them within the forty-eight hour window to request another, more suitable job assignment, I was informed I was now a do not use, for quitting the temp assignment for a good cause reason. (No, they didn't admit that I had good cause .. to me)  

But I knew what they had in fact done was good for me because they literally shifted the burden of proof to themselves.

In simple terms, do not use means .. discharge and that must be for work related misconduct.  I had never been written up as an employee in my thirty eight years as an at-will employee.

I'll give both those employers credit .. the temp agency was represented by the UCM I was working for and both seemed to agree to keep appealing to prove I had quit without good cause .. all the way to the board of review. 

But here's the thing .. when you know why unemployment law should allow you to collect .. and employer, or a cost control company relying on ignorance as a winning strategy, becomes a non-starter to actually win an appeal to argue indifferently to how unemployment laws are really supposed to work.

What can I say now about a job that made me aware indifference to the truth is commonplace, but thanks for all the working memories!  

Because I now know my experiment to prove something to myself .. worked.  Yes I can build a website .. that attracts it's own free traffic.

Got a question, or topic to suggest for the blog?  Make it a good and you might just get me to jump on my soapbox one more time.

Here is legal disclaimer .

PS  A majority of states in this country allow non-attorneys to practice unemployment law and many employers already know this .. so they use cost control companies who provide non-attorney UI hearing reps. 


Submit an Question, or Topic Idea About Working

Growing up I heard "work smart, not harder". It was never meant to be permission to be lazy, but more of a mandate to use our head first .. no matter the chore, or homework being done.

American employees have learned to turn off what their head tells them would be the prudent thing to do, only to later convince themselves they were made a victim by an employer. If you're honest with yourself .. that's only half the truth, if your head was telling you to do something, but you ignored your head because you knew it could jeopardize your employment .. as an at-will employee.

Sounds like a recipe for retaliation .. or denying benefits because you didn't speak up reasonably for yourself.

You can use the blogging form below to submit ideas, questions, or news to help employees work smarter. I'll notify you if/when it is published on the blog.

What else might be on your mind?

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