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Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for "egregious behavior?"

by Anonymous
(Connecticut)

I was terminated for behavior assessed to be egregious, I understand that as the grounds. I did exhibit a negative attitude and indicated how unhappy I was to have to attend a mandatory training program that would take me away from my work for 3.5 hours; my language was admittedly melodramatic and apparently, coworker(s) in and outside of the training program was/were concerned, upset or otherwise uncomfortable about it, which I can understand (those outside of the training involved my immediate manager and perhaps one other person in my unit). Subsequently, there were suddenly allegations made by the management team that terminated me that I had made "threatening statements" during the training program itself (I happen to have sat with some people at the training who turned out to be lower level managers of other depts). I did not and have never threatened anyone in or outside of the company; I did make disparaging remarks about the necessity of the training and indicated that it was stressful for me to attend and leave my work (only). I later communicated with my mngmnt team and stated there must be a misunderstanding regarding the threatening comments, apologized for my behavior (my only incident in 6.5 years of employment and I have had excellent performance reviews; this was a new mngmnt group, my dept was dissolved), and explained my plan to make certain that such disparaging/negative behavior would not recur. I requested that the mngmnt team consider a disciplinary action rather than termination (I tried to negotiate). I had been placed on paid admin leave pending an "investigation" prior to my attempt at negotiation. I had not been terminated on the spot, although I was walked out of the building; apparently, the grounds had yet to be completely worked up (I was simply told at the time that I had made disparaging remarks about the training program, was bordering on insubordination and had made comments that had made other staff "uncomfortable"; that was all the information they would give me; the "threatening remarks" allegation came later). I was informed one week after the paid admin leave that the decision was for termination because of egregious behavior, apparently a combination of my negative talk plus the "threatening remarks" (which were supposedly reported by more than 1 of the lower level managers sitting at my table during the training)



Hi Anonymous,

It depends on the documentation and witnesses the employer brings to the hearing. So I'm going to let you decide what you think your chances are by referring you to some information.

Connecticut's definition of misconduct.

You can read each separate discussion of the elements the employer needs to prove here.

And here's the decision library. It's within the decisions that relate to your situation you may be able to find something that will help you focus on the best points of your position.

Now, if the employer happens to have a hearing rep .. or a saavy HR director that directs their case .. watch out. Normally, an unemployment hearing is just not all that exciting. Discharges for unacceptable attendance and tardiness are like dry food for a dog .. then you come along and throw them a T-bone. Yum-yum.



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Update
by: Anonymous

I finally submitted a claim for the unemployment. Of course, had to go to a hearing. My employer didn't even show up. The hearing officer stated my case did not appear to meet either the "just cause" or "willful misconduct" reasons which would disqualify me for benefits, but rather constituted "a lapse in judgement." 10 days later (CT state has to allow 10 days for an employer to appeal) I received 9 checks!

In addition, I qualified for the new federal administration's ARRA subsidy which pays for 65% of the cost of my health insurance under COBRA.

Thanks for all your help.

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Reference Checks
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the information regarding professional reference checking and employment verification services so that people can determine what former employers are saying about them to prospective employers. If I do not list someone from my most recent former employer as one of my references on an employment application, the prospective employer will still contact that company in order to at least verify employment, correct? I was told by one of the managers that all such calls are directed to the human resources dept. and not directly responded to by regular employees.


I would assume so, but the fact that HR will be contacted would not comfort me. HR depts. usually run the show.

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Handling a discharge while interviewing for new jobs.
by: Chris - webmaster:)


Hi Anonymous,

I'm not sure I've ever heard of someone striking a deal after the fact, but understand I would only find out about deals because I had received a hearing notice and every once in a while I would call an employer who freaked out because there was an appeal. They would tell me withdraw now, we have an agreement with this claimant to not protest.

I think your question is an interesting one and has relevance for many people in all walks of life. I think there is added relevance in regard to the additional services provided by some of the UI cost control companies .. which I mention on this page. The company I reference on that page doesn't make big money from UI control, rather it's a way to enlarge a vast amount of information for income and employment verification.

I do not know what Connecticut law says about the extent of information an ex-employer can provide to a prospective employer, but most are wary because saying too much exposes them to slander lawsuits and the like. I still don't know, but I did read an interesting way of knowing what an employer may say. I read about it here.

You're on the right track, if you decide to pursue benefits, with the psychotherapist tactic.

Connecticut, even if their recipiency rate has fallen dramatically, likes claimants.

I specifically remember a Mass case where an executive won a reversal at hearing. He spent his days, it seems, on porn sites. The employer had hundreds fo documents and IT people to testify that this is what he did. He had a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with a sexual addiction. End of story.

Sorry about the t-bone yum-yum comment. I was just trying to warn you that if your employer utilizes one of those cost control companies and is provided a hearing rep to represent them, or even if it's handles by a tenacious HR director, your case will present a challenge or something they can really sink their teeth into vs. a discharge for unacceptable attendance.

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What about quitting after you're fired?
by: Anonymous

I'm having great difficulty with knowing I'll have to explain to prospective employers why I'm not working. Most of the websites I've gone to for counsel on how to handle this indicate to try to sort of gloss over it, i.e., "the job turned out not to be good fit and my boss and I decided that leaving the company would be mutually beneficial," unless asked directly whether you've ever been fired, and then you should never lie, but try to be as vague as possible about the details. I still feel so shakey about it though, and worry that prospectives will be biased or have company policy against hiring anyone who was fired, and I'll never be able to get a job, at least not anytime soon. I feel like I would rather just give up on the unemployment benies and be able to say I quit (there were much better suggestions of what to say to prospectives about why you quit and there's not the stigma attached). Have you ever heard of anyone working with the employer to be able to submit a letter of resignation after the fact, perhaps with an agreement of some sort that there will be no unemployment claim possibility now? I'm sort of feeling I'd rather have it that way, able to tell a prospective I resigned rather than I was fired.



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What do you mean?
by: Anonymous

What exactly do you mean by the phrase "...then you come along and throw them a T-Bone...yum-yum?

It seems if I can get a report by a pschotherapist or doctor indicating my normal coping mechanism has been impaired due to some degree of depression with lack of adequate sleep (I have an appt with a psychotherapist 04/23), it would mitigate the negative and "smart alec" behavior I displayed to a handful of co-workers and which I do admit to, and the Unemployment Referee would probably rule that my behavior does not meet CT State's definition of willful misconduct, especially not repeated willful misconduct, which seems to be an important element here, as I have no priors. However, the company has said I also displayed "threatening and/or egegious behavior," which I can truly say I believe is embellishment - if my behavior was actually threatening, they would have been able to fire me on the spot per company policy and there would have been no need for this paid admin leave pending "investigation" stuff. Maybe that was a tactic to allow me time to resign if I wanted to. Also, I do not believe CT's definition of "just cause" has been met because I wasn't threatening enough to fire on the spot and I didn't do/say anything to jeopardize the business.

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