Fired for violation of a company policy
(Marietta GA Unemployment )
I was Terminated from employment on 3-19-09 with my former employer of 10 yrs. In that time i had never been wrote up one time and never had a problem, i had been promoted to a Manager position within last year to oversee 140 employees across multiple locations in the state of GA. I was asked to go by my upper management to terminate a supervisor for work performance issues on 3-12-09 (one week before they fired me) I had a witness with me as i always did in these situations. I told the employee why i was there and i needed to let him go and then asked for his company items (truck keys etc) he had driving privilages to take vehicle home as part of his job. Employee refused to give me the keys got hostile with me and my witness, threatening body language and obscene language coming out of his mouth, i asked again for truck keys, was ignored, repeated this 3 more times, he did not calm down ran out the door jumped in truck and took off, i ran behind him shouting stop, stop or i will call police, he didn't stop. I called Police reporting vehicle stolen and then called my manager, i was shouted and cussed out down the phone, called F***ing incompetent as well as other obscene vulgar stuff and hung up on. My Boss was out of state and shows up 6 hours later and he asked me for a statement and my witness a statement on what happened, i did provide this exactly as it happened. The employee in question was arrested by the way within 10 minutes that morning and our vehicle was safely recovered.
Nothing more is said to me about this until a week later, i was called early on the morning of 3-19-09 (week later) and told to meet my boss at the hotel he was staying in town at, when arrived he fired me stating i handled the situation a week earlier poorly and i was fired. On the separation notice provided (also had to fight with HR 2 days to get that) he stated while in the process of separating an employee i failed to collect company truck keys before telling the employee he was being let go. This is there basis for termination.
There is no policy in place anywhere or checklist with this employer that i have ever
seen that states i must ask for keys before letting employee go. I did the separation the way the company trained me to do it almost 10 yrs earlier and never was questioned one time about any of them prior. I have reviewed the company handbook and there is no mention of this policy anywhere as it does not exist.
I applied for unemployment benefits and the claims examiner agreed with me at the fact finding they stated the employer had failed to show i violated any policy therefore i could recieve benefits. My employer has now filed an appeal which i am waiting on, do you think i will win this appeal based on these key notes i have pointed out below.
1. I was fired for violation of a policy that doesn't exist.
2. I was terminated a week later, if what i had done was so terrible to justify termination, why did they wait a whole week?
3. No prior writeups of any kind, if my process in terminations was wrong, why was it never questioned before.
4. I did try to the best of my ability to secure those keys, the employee was hostile and threatening and i feared for my safety, the keys where in the employees pocket the whole time, only way could have got them would be to put my hands on him and i wasn't about to go to jail for assault charges as i told the employer this at the time, i immediately dialed 911 and let law enforcement handle the situation as i believe i should have.
Anything else i could add or change? I feel i have a strong case of winning the appeal, open to any thoughts.
I'm just guessing .. since you've probably been an employer witness at unemployment hearings that you understand you chances are excellent of retaining benefits.
You said it's an employer appeal .. they are the ones that now have the burden that your actions were misconduct. Even if you believe the employer that you "broke with procedure" when requesting the keys before you told him "you're fired" .. I think it would be seen as a one time inadvertent error not rising to the level of misconduct need for a reversal.
From your account, you did what a "reasonable" person would do in your situation .. you called the cops.
The employer is grasping.
I guess I better ask you if the "witnesses" statement was damning to you.