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Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for time clock fraud

by Heidi
(Chicago, Illinois, USA)



Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for not punching out at lunch? I even emailed my supervisor when I came back from lunch after I realized that I had forgotten to punch out to tell her that and asked her to punch me back in. They called me in that day at 3:45 and told me I had committed "time clock fraud" and that they no longer needed my services. I had NEVER been warned either verbally or in writing for this or anything in the past. I have always had a good review and raise. I never had any problems in the past. Now, my unemployment is being held up because they are dragging their feet on getting back to the unemployment office regarding questions that they have asked them, so I have been told. Thank you for your help.


Hi Heidi,

A one time inadvertent error for failing to punch out for lunch with no prior warnings of any kind is a pretty flimsy case for time card fraud .. especially since you emailed your supervisor and reported it.

It might hold water if you had been previously warned or they had a witness who could testify with direct knowledge that they saw you .. leave, in the lunchroom, at a restaurant, etc. prior to the time you told the supervisor you left .. otherwise my suspicious mind would speculate about the possible reasons an employer would do something like this because it's a very iffy proposition if they were actually holding out hope it would stand up as good cause for unemployment purposes.

Wow, the employer is dragging their feet .. Thank God all states have deadlines for responses.

There's always the possibility the employer is just, plain dumb about unemployment.

Some whine constantly about never being able to win unemployment hearings .. I say, what do they expect when they do this kind of stuff. It's similar to someone who doesn't understand why they can't get unemployment when they quit because their boss rolled their eyes at them ..

Please let everyone know how it turned out .. This will only work if everyone follows up with the "RESULTS".

Chris

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Fl Unemployment appeal please help
by: Anonymous

supervisor was fired, no reason was said to us new sup promoted he was aware of emails & repairs I was doing, yet 1st week he fired me for conducting personal business on comp time w/o warnings. new sup wants his friend to get promotion I was up for so I was fired. I have a print out of a dir of finance email (other dept) about repairs for her to prove others were using comp email. My evals r stellar always go above&beyond, exceeds expectations. My job is to fix over phone or send tech out for charge back to us. if we have good knowledge we r not taken advantage of, by repair techs. employer paid to update my tech certs. I saw how tech changed in field. wanted current hands on expr 4 newer mod PCs I asked my old sup if it would be OK if I worked on people?s personal PCs 4 job dev skills after work. She said YES, great idea I need you to fix my pc 1st. Old sup, was aware we were all using company email to communicate repairs needed & how I could do them I was using knowledge I gained to save the company time & money, I reduced labor time & costs my reviews show the results. I am the go to person due to my knowledge. So repair techs couldn?t dictate costs. I have 1 of best audit scores on floor. My sups comments & others along with outstanding evals & awards said I was right




Hi,

I had to cut your comment short in order to publish it.

You used a comment for what was a very long explanation of your situation. Most of it telling me why you shouldn't have been fired because you are such a stellar employee, but that alone tells me you miss the point of why you can get unemployment when fired .. the good does not have anything to do with the reason you are fired nor what the employer has to prove .. MISCONDUCT.

If you want to have an individualized talk about whether you have a way to fight this .. just let me know.

Your comment or question was not a general question.

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didn't need the form
by: Heidi

I called the unemployment office and the guy there said I did not need a form that I should jus write a letter in my own words, date it and sign it. He gave me a fax number where to send it to. Jeez, after all this, I probably still will be denied, but I guess its worth a try. Oh I meant to ask you something, someone told me that they have to tell you that you are discharged. They told me "we no longer need your services". Is this correct, or can they say whatever they want and whatever they put in writing is what the unemployment office will go by?? Thanks Chris.

Heidi


We no longer need your services is just another way of say you're fired .. it just sounds less harsh.

The employer is suppose to make you aware of why you are being let go. They are suppose to make you aware your job is in jeopardy .. so you can take the appropriate action to correct "the problem", but they don't have to do this if they are letting you go for an offense that a "reasonable rule" states you will be terminated immediately.

Please note my use of the word reasonable. Reasonableness is one of those key words I use a lot because it is the standard applied when determining good cause.

I could talk all day long about this stuff to someone, but if they are hyper-sensitive, or just plain flaky .. they won't get this.

You have to move from a subjective point of view to an objective one to see your situation the way "others will". After all it is others who make the decisions .. right?

The forms are usually a convenience for claimants .. faxing is always best .. make sure you get a successful transmittal because appeals do sometimes get lost.

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appeal form
by: Heidi

Hi Chris,
I think I found the form. Is it the "application for reconsideration of claims adjudicator's determination"? I have name and address, ss# and date of determination blanks to fill in and then an area to type my reason. I am not sure where to mail it to, maybe I should take the form in person to the office??? Thanks Chris,

Heidi


There should be instructions on the determination ..

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Should I write a letter or find a form for appeal
by: Heidi

Hi Chris,
I have written a denial letter. Should I write a letter or find a form to fill out. I will send you a copy of my letter if I can get it to go through. I am in Illinois. Please let me know what you think of my letter.

Heidi

June 1, 2009

This is in regards to an appeal for my claim for unemployment benefits following discharge from Midwest Orthopedic Center on April 29, 2009.

I wish to appeal the determination denying my unemployment benefits. I believe it to be in error because the employer?s contentions are not consistent with the incident that occurred.

First of all, I would like to say that I DID NOT take lunch two times. I took lunch for 30 minutes. I did in fact fail to punch out for lunch. When I realized that upon returning from my 30 minute lunch, I emailed my supervisor Christine and advised her that I had not punched out for my lunch break and that I had forgotten to do so. I was letting her know that I failed to punch out. When you do not punch out, the time clock will not let you punch back in from lunch. I was asking her to please punch me back in.

As far as the witness statements, no one knows what time another employee punches out or in for lunch because you must use your social security number in order to get on the time clock. Whoever said that they saw me may have seen me, but it may not have been during my lunch break, as I said, they would not know what time I had punched out for lunch.


Sincerely,


Hi Heidi,

See this page at the Illinois unemployment website for the application for reconsideration form.http://www.ides.state.il.us/forms/default.asp#worker if that's what the determination is telling you to do. It should have come with the determination .. at least I think it should have ..

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An important link for anyone appealing denied unemployment benefits in Illinois
by: Chris - webmaster:)

Heidi


Heidi, if you're going to give details in an appeal and since Illinois does "redetermine". Try not to make the letter a monologue, but an outline.

Something like .. I wish to appeal the determination denying my unemployment benefits. I believe it to be in error because the employer's contentions are not consistent with the the incident that occurred and then point by point BRIEFLY list your points. It's important to focus on the things that undermine the good cause they now have. I meant to give you the link to the IDES Decision Digest It's the first one listed.

There will probably be another phone call from the state after they receive your appeal.

Why do employer's do what they do .. why do some claimants do what they do? ..

I can't answer that, but I know for a fact that if an at will employee in America is not vigilant about protecting, asserting and defending their rights in the workplace they are a victim by choice.

I know not everyone gets this .. But if your entire life and the way you live (including eating:) is dependent upon the whims of an employer .. why wouldn't you get smart about being an employee.

I have experienced that sense of disbelief about what an employer will do. It made me feel vulnerable, but that feeling can be made to go away and be replaced by feeling "equal" to the employer when you know what they can and can't do and what you can and can't do .. legally that is.

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why it won't hold up
by: Heidi

Hi Chris,
I don't think it will hold up because first of all, regarding those "statements" from people that he supposedly got where they saw me either in the kitchen or not at my desk when I was suppose to be, none of those people knew what time I clocked out. Nobody knows what time you clock out because you have to use your SS# to get into the time clock, so unless you tell somebody I punched out at 11:30, they don't have any idea, so how would those people know what time I was and was not suppose to be at lunch. He is saying that I took "two lunch breaks". I don't know where he got that because I DID NOT punch out or in for lunch. And, since it was probably at least the next day if not longer that he asked those people if they saw me, how would they remember what time it was such as 11:35 or 12:10? I cannot believe a COO of a large surgical group like that is lying, unbelievable! And, if I was trying to take two lunch periods like he says, why would I email my supervisor and tell her that I forgot to punch out? It would be easier to do that if I just didn't notify her at all and just let it go? I wish I could contact the physician that I typed for, he knows what a good worker I was and I know he probably knows nothing about it. I tell you what, I have never been made to feel so badly as I have with this ordeal. Thing is, I never had any problems with the COO, ever, I don't understand why he is lying about these things.

Do you think that would make a good letter of appeal, except for a few personal things I put in, which I know not to put those in.


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Remember when I told you what an employer would have to do?
by: Chris - webmaster:)

Yes, it does cost the employer when we collect unemployment benefits. Every claim lost for them ups the percentage they have to pay on the first x amount of wages paid to each employee every year. It's called their experience rating.

You appeal Heidi.

Remember when I said an employer would need witnesses who "saw" you at lunch outside the time you were at lunch? Ta-dah!! Saying he has five witnesses is quite a feat considering you were discharged at what? 3:45. Did it say anything about witness statements?

Why don't you try to explain here why the employer's argument doesn't hold water .. it will be good practice for the unemployment hearing:)

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denial
by: Heidi

Hi Chris,its Heidi. Well, i got a denial letter from unemployment. My former boss is saying that since I did not "punch out at lunch" that I took two lunch breaks and only punched out for one. Can you believe this? I don't understand why he is saying this stuff. He says he has "five" witnesses that saw me at different times in the kitchen or away from my desk during these times. Does me getting unemployment cost the company money, or what? Its one thing that he fired me without a good reason, now he is fighting my unemployment, I guess he wants to starve me to death!! Now what do I do? It says on the paper the appeal date is 6/30/09. I can't wait that long to go with no money coming in... HELP!


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Time frame for getting a determination???
by: Chris - webmaster:)

Hi Heidi:)

I'll tell you what .. prior to last year, you could almost set your watch by the amount of time it took to receive a determination, but apparently even the states are having a hard time keeping up with their imposed deadlines.

I went in search of an understandable Illinois unemployment claims outline and this is what I came up with: Illinois Legal Advocate

Illinois is one of those states that utilizes "redeterminations". This means that once the initial determination (I'd call tomorrow and check on it) is issued and if it's in your favor, the employer will appeal that. A redetermination will be issued which if not reversed will also need to be appealed and THEN a hearing is scheduled.

As for overpayments in Illinois (this is turning out to be an overpayment question kind of day)

I think a responsible person should be interested in how their state recoups overpayments .. because this like almost everything else varies from state to state. Click the current year, then Overpayments.

There is two types of overpayments .. nonfraud and fraud. The tables explain how each state deals with collecting the money and what they can do to offset the loss. Illinois is allowed to offset with your state tax refund and they may also use civil recourses .. ie., garnishment and collection agencies ....

One final note, all Illinois hearing notices include the issue of "timeliness of protest". Since you feel that your employer is dragging their feet you will want to pay attention to the state file to make sure the employer was timely at every point of the process.

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decision time
by: Anonymous

Hi Chris, this is Heidi, the "time clock frauder"; I was wondering if there is a time frame in which I have to wait for a decision on whether I will receive unemployment benefits. I applied for unemployment on 4/30/09, a day after I was discharged and as of yet, 5/31/09 I still have not heard a decision. The interviewer at unemployment did contact me and interview me on 5/18/09 and told me I would get benefits and if my ex-employer wanted to appeal it and won, I may have to pay back the benefits. I can see my ex-employer just sitting on requested info from unemployment just to make me wait longer. Is there a certain amount of time you have to wait for a decision? Thanks

Heidi

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