Can I collect unemployment if I was fired for adjusting employee time punches. - New Jersey
This is my story.
I worked for this company for over 11 years.
I was fired for adjusting employee time punches. Several, if not all employees, would not work while they were on the clock.
Examples of this include:
1. Coming into work and clocking in. They then proceeded to get dressed for work, smoke a cigarette, or fool around. 30 minutes after initially clocking in they would start working. I adjusted to reflect this.
2. Not clocking out for breaks. Employees would leave on break and forget to clock in or out. I would adjust for that.
3. Refusing to clock out on time. I had one minor who refused to clock out on time after being told repeatedly. She would hang out by the time clock and punch out when she felt like it causing her to go over the allowed time limit.
Most of these problems would happen while I was not in the store and would only be found by watching the camera system.
The regional loss prevention manager came in to do a loss prevention audit and said that what I did was not allowed. I was put on suspension for two days after which I was fired.
On three previous quarterly area audits, all performed by my area manager, it was marked down that all time punches were correct. I feel that if I was doing something wrong, it should have been found during those audits so I could have corrected myself.
In September of 2008, the company put out a memo that stated five different policies that needed to be followed. All members of the management team were required to read and electronically sign the memo. The fifth policy stated that all employees will be properly paid for the time that they worked.
I was fired for violation for that policy. I paid all employees for the time that they
actually worked. But because I manually adjusted their time punches to reflect that, the company said that I violated the policy. I don't feel that I violated this for I did pay all employees correctly. I don't feel that I was doing anything wrong and I also don't feel that this memo was properly explained to me.
I may have handled the situation poorly but I would never do anything to go against the company.
I filed for unemployment in NJ on 2/27/2009. (I may have lived in PA but I worked in NJ) After an interview with the claims examiner, I was denied benefits for willful misconduct. Is it possible that I will be eligible for benefits after the 6 week period? Or would it be better to file an appeal?
I am now 6 months pregnant and am finding great difficulty in finding a job. Although potential employers do not say that they aren't hiring me for being pregnant, I feel that is the reason.
Yes, I do see why you were denied. I think your actions probably put the employer at risk as well as weakening any discharge of those offending employees.
You could appeal, but quite frankly I don't think your chances are good. LP people document very well and make the best witnesses. What you did could of very well caused harm to the employer. Instead of altering subordinate's time punches you should have been writing them up.
If you did win on appeal you of course would get the backpay, but the way I see it ... you were lucky to work in New Jersey where they just disqualify for the week of discharge plus five weeks. Most states require a person to return to work and earn a specified multiplier of their weekly benefit amount. Some just reduce or completely cancel all wage credits associated with the job.