Everyday, at will employees are at risk of getting fired.for any reason an employer chooses to use when terminating the employment relationship.
The employer's reasoning for doing so, however, also means they have accepted the burden of proof for purposes of denying your right to collect unemployment benefits.
Just like you, an at-will employee, can choose to quit for no cause, bad cause, or good cause because that is what relates to getting, or being denied unemployment benefits, an employer do the same to an employee because employment in the United States is at-will.
But when you apply for unemployment benefits after being fired, at will has changed a little in that the employer, because they were the moving party, is now expected to prove the reason for termination to be for work related misconduct and to a burden of proof, or the standard of law used, called a preponderance.
Lucky for both parties to this issue of an unemployment appeal hearing that misconduct has been nicely defined so even an employee can see where an obvious rebuttal argument might be.
Unlike good cause for quitting a job lacking such a straight forward definition, it can be difficult to choose when to move with all the talk about an employee's efforts to preserve a job just to have a shot at good cause, some employers opt to tell employees they can quit in lieu of being fired.
Nice option for a resume, but for the sake of unemployment benefits, unemployment law requires this scenario to be adjudicated as a discharge because the employee was left with no option to remain employed..
When you are still an employee with the ability to make decisions now, that can matter greatly later, you may need to also ask questions about unemployment that are often relevant to an employee right.
Guarding yourself from an employer guarding their own best interest may be as simple as knowing a resignation letter you're asked to write is nothing less than a document .. that can be used for, or against you by an employer who is trying to push that pesky burden of proof to you when they use your hand written resignation letter .. thanking them for the opportunity of working for them as evidence they weren't the moving party.
So, we all need to know what a burden of proof means to the argument you can make right now.
We all need to know as employee we do not have to give aid to a former employer working diligently to prove something other than work misconduct to make you look guilty of it, or any other strategy used to win unemployment appeals. But this is often good to know should there ever be a next time and the real question is .. what can you do now to REBUT the argument an employer can be expected to make .. to prove you were guilty?
There's really no end to the list of reasons why an employee may for some reason become a PITA (pain in the ass) employee, or perhaps a perceived threat to the best interest of a business.
It may even be one boss in particular who for reasons unknown to you, can't stand you, and singles you out for unilateral treatment.
Whatever the scenario there's often an HR person trying to keep the company from paying those unemployment benefits they never seem to mention, but are entirely aware of ..
But the ultimately the goal for an employer dead set on fighting unemployment benefits right, wrong, or indifferent to their own cause is documenting your actions as misconduct as a way to avoid any potential harm to the employer in the realm of employment law non-compliance hot water.
The point I want employees to take away from the "game" of employment, is that while you are still an employee, you are just as free to have an affect on the outcome of unemployment benefits and especially an unemployment appeal that allows time for a full fact finder with "evidence" that can weight a story to become the most credible.
While you're an employee you have an chance .. an ability to document an alternate version of the truth other than the employer's. Your version of the facts needs to come through at an unemployment hearing as the most credible and documentary evidence is what both weights your words of testimony and make they float to the top as the accepted facts.
Ever thought about counter documenting as if you were in charge of your own work, or UI destiny? For instance, not laying down to a written warning you believe to be a slanted and erroneous view of what the employer is saying happened, or letting their version stand alone as evidence of your misconduct.
How about turning "conversations" an employer would rather not have in writing into a document. Store your proof away for safe keeping, in the event you need it for unemployment .. or heaven forbid .. a real non-compliace issue with an employee right .. your discharge may be in retaliation against?
And remember, if it isn't written, it didn't happen .. at least this is what employers preach.
Ready to read some questions and answers and think about getting fired from a 360 point of view.?