Insubordination

by John
(Zephyrhills, Florida, USA)

I was told I was being let go for several instances of "Insubordination", all 3 were not write ups, just all 3 wrote down on one piece of paper and "Verbal" checked off. The third date says 12-25-2009 I will be insubordinate. I was sent a bunch of crazy emails ( I have some, but not all), which contained Barack Obama being hung from a tree, another informing me that I should be voting for Mccain, and a bunch of Religious "Chain mail" style emails. When I asked NOT to include me in these types of emails, I was quickly isolated and several problems began. I was a security Guard and the residents in the community that I guarded knew of my termination days before I did.

I do not see how my benefits could be denied when I was never even written up. on 2 of the days I was "Insubordinate" I have emails showing that I was doing a good job, I have none for the christmas one, as christmas 2009 is not here yet. I plan on appealing this, but is it worth it? I live in Florida, if that makes any difference.


Hi John,

Yup, I'd say it's worth appealing. Not necessarily because someone wrote the wrong year for one of the instances, but because the employer has no paper trail to show you were ever warned your job was in jeopardy.

I'm sure they have a written policy, if they actually have forms like that. Your best bet lies in the fact that they didn't follow their own progressive discipline policy. It will also of course depend on the final incident. I do not believe you related the straw that broke the camels back for the employer.

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May 03, 2009
Thank you and a few more Questions
by: John

Thank you for replying so quickly. I have to dig out that paper, it is put away, not lost, just too lazy right now to go get it, but I think I remember it said like you stated. I was not in the chain of command (it changed monthly, I could not keep up with who was who), but in the employee hand book (I had to Klepto one at the end)it does say under all the rules, displinary action leading upto termination will result, but at the supervisors descretion. We would lock horns over the schedule ( it would change in ways that only I was affected), we locked horns over one day when I was off, the girl that was working was surfing the internet while on duty, she was going to sites like "hotblackmale.com or something like that and a whole bunch of other sites. The next morning ( I had split days off) I was ordered to fix the computer and "take a hit for the team", I refused and explained I was hired to be a security guard, not a computer technician, that cost the company almost $500 and the girl that was put in place to force me into split days off was not allowed to be on property no more, this was deemed as my fault. I truly believe this is what caused the official "Let's get rid of John" syndrome.
Now my question is, when I appeal, what statements do I give? Will they have a criteria for me, or do I just write basically what happened in the day and life of this Mickey Mouse company? It starts at day one, I never finished filling out my application, but a year later it is shown to me and it is filled out in CLOSE to my hand writing, but not my handwriting, and a Regional Manager (the one I am accused of being Insubordinate with) being fired for calling a Muslim Applicant a Terrorist in a email that he sent back to the Muslim! Like I said, I had a wild ride! If it were not for the economy, I would have just gave 2 weeks notice and left (I did that in the first 1.5 months of working there but they convinced me to stay). I have plenty to say, and it will make you scratch your head and have the ??? over it.
Thank you for your help in this. I signed myself up in a truck driving school to upgrade my CDL License to the A Class. I just want to move forward and obtain employment, but this denial is placing a terrible strain on me and my family. Are we allowed to have legal action as well, I seriously doubt it, but would be nice.
John

May 04, 2009
Unemployment appeal letter for denial.
by: Chris - webmaster:)

Hi John,

You really should keep your appeal letter short and simple. Do not allow it to give the employer too much of a heads up about what you will be focusing your attentions on at the hearing. Some of the stuff you mentioned .. like split shifts and scheduling are not strong reasons to protest with. You were an at will employee and employers can schedule you as they like unless you can prove you were hired for a fixed schedule.

I do have some concerns because I'm getting the impression just from your account of this employment, that racial bigotry seems to be a theme for the employer. I'm also concerned about the employment application issue. I'd really like to know the exact language used by the state for denial. John, the more you reveal .. the more questions I have. This always makes me think someone is being selective in what they're telling me.

When an appeal letter gives too many details .. you increase the opportunity that you will self disqualify yourself .. an appeal letter becomes part of the record.

When you have one drafted you can post it here and I'll let you know what I think of it.

May 04, 2009
States reason of Denial
by: John

Section I. Notice of Determination
The Claimant was Discharged for refusing or failing to perform an assigned task which was within the terms of hire. The claimant's actions were not in the employer's best interests.

That is what was on my letter that arrived today (5-4-2009).

On the Employee Warning Notice (one sheet of paper, first one I ever seen) Rudeness to Employee/Customers was checked, Unsatisfactory Working Quality checked, Failure to follow instructions checked, Violation of Company Policies or Procedures checked, Insubordination checked, Other: Client Requested Removal checked.
Then 1st Warning under Oral checked, 2nd Warning under Oral checked and 3rd Warning under Oral checked...in order 12/27/09-Supervisors names only, then 2nd 2/23/2009 supervisors again and the 3rd 2/25/2009 Regional manager in PA. only.

Then it has areas where I supposedly states rule number (i.e. 1.1.1) Insubordination or refusal to obey a supervisor, 1.1.20 Any behavior jeopardizing or inconsistent with Business goals + (company name). 1.2.14 Showing disrespect to clients or employees. 1.2.11 Complaining or degeneration of (Company) or any of its personel to clients (4/3/2009 + 4/6/2009). AND Failure to follow chain of command, 12/25/2009 + 4/6/2009. I had this in my hands on 4/6/09.

Now, I guess where this all really came from is the computer virus I refused to remove because I was not a Computer Tech, but a guard, and not knowing that a Home Builder was still around, the other guards and the site supervisor included did not know of this as all construction offices were not there because of the recession. I even apologized to the manager of the builder company (trying to keep from using company names here, do not know if I can) and they were ok with it, as long as it does not happen again, that is the only 2 real times I know of that I actually did or said something to anger anyone, but did apologize for it. Right after the Builder screw up which was about one and a half months after the computer incident was I discharged. But she was still mad at me over the emails.
The wife reminded me back when I first was hired and turned in my 2 week notice, that she made a statement to me about never again hiring a disabled vet, we carry a chip on our shoulders. I do not really see that as being useful but she does.

May 04, 2009
Forgot this...
by: Insubordination

So I guess I would write a letter something like this?:

I would like to Appeal the decision the state of Florida has made on my Unemployment Claim for the following reasons.
1.I was never properly warned of my job in jeopardy.

2. I feel that this "Insubordination" and other charges are being greatly blown out of proportion.

3. I feel there are other reasons I was really let go than what was stated to me.


And obviously those would be the Virus and me refusing to play computer tech on the clients brand new $1200 computer and the mistake made with the builder. I really do not know what they will say next as everything changes. If you want to see the Terrorist letter, go to:http://www.sptimes.com/2008/02/07/Hillsborough/_Terrorist__e_mail_le.shtml
That is public knowledge. This is the type of hatred they have, and the last supervisor that was mentioned on my write up is the H.R. person that I understand as to whom we speak to when we have a discrimination complaint (does no good).

May 04, 2009
Just noticed this..
by: John

Bob was mentioned as me being disobedient on 12/27/2009, maybe they meant 12.27.2008? Well this website clearly shows him gone by Feb 7,2008.

May 05, 2009
Shorten up the appeal letter.
by: Chris - webmaster:)

I think I would shorten up the appeal letter.

The first point you made in #1 is the reason you disagree. The other two points will come out at the appeal hearing.

Are you a disabled vet??

Now you need to understand that a one-time instance of misconduct can be seen as sufficient to prove misconduct. Since I don't exactly know the particulars of what happened that made the "client" request your removal .. I don't know if an ALJ or any other reasonable person will see this as sufficient.

You need to focus on and provide documentation (from the handbook) that shows the employer did not follow their own policy. It will be through the testimony that credibility will be given to either you or the employer about the circumstances of the "final incident" which by virtue of the employer's failure to adhere to policy may be seen as questionable .. You goal is to convince the ALJ through your truthful testimony that the employer was responsible for whatever happened that caused you to do something .. you felt compelled to apologize for.

The picture I'm getting is that the employer felt the incident that prompted the firing was egregious enough to get rid of you, but decided the lack of documentation might make your case a loser .. so they decided to improve the documentation by checking boxes. Without documentation for these separate instances credible direct testimony is the way they can overcome this obstacle.

Like I said, it may come down to he said/she said and whether the ALJ believes the final incident rose to the level of misconduct which would justify an immediate termination.




May 05, 2009
I filed
by: John

I went ahead and filed. Kept it real simple. "I disagree with the decision on denial of my benefits and termination due to me not having proper notification that my job was ever in jeopardy." That is all I wrote. I just googled for the heck of it, my old supervisors name, and I found several normal references, but this one really stands out..... what do you make of this? This really disturbs me now.....

goto:http://www.indeed.com/forum/cmp/St.-Moritz-Security-Services/answer-some-Questions/t128976



Is this the person that fired you???? Hope you printed it out. It's kind of an ugly display of attitude and might possibly be used to counter .. if necessary a different attitude displayed at the hearing.

May 05, 2009
Something else I noticed
by: Chris - webmaster:)

John,

I followed the link to the security company's website. I checked out the information under "employment". I don't think the information was consistent with the image they are trying to promote. The disparity might be useful in showing she breaks rules. Do the people at corporate know she's actually putting that kind of information about their company on Indeed???

May 06, 2009
Supervisor on the net
by: John

I really don't know the details about that website. I know she put up ads on Craigs List, but not this site. I found that totally by accident. I googled "Bob" the former Regional Manager, I thought I would google other members of the Company to see what would turn up, and I seen this, looked through other sites that popped up, but they seemed good, but this one..... And you better believe I have a bookmark on it, printed copy and a saved image, and yes, she is the one that fired me.

I actually think Indeed may have been the one to send a "list" of questions. The questions below her response made me think that. I don't think that's the kind of image any employer wants promoted .. no matter whether it's true or not .. especially on a big website like that.

May 06, 2009
Re: Super on the net
by: John

I know for a while she was extremely mad at the higher ups about her going to Miami and her having to pay for all the gas,motel and food to train new guards there,and was not getting reimbursed her expenses. But I think that was around December or January. I know she was never much of a leader either, like when the office changed locations, she wanted to use off duty guards and their vehicles to move the office. Finally someone was smart enough to convince her of the Liability, she was not even going to offer pay, just a free lunch, but with her it was much more than what it appeared to be, be wary if you say no thanks and you have a truck.... Corporate had her use a professional moving company.

May 08, 2009
Maybe....
by: John

You Know, I re-read and re-read that passage on that page, it almost seems to be a "joke" email that was inadvertently posted there, kind of like "Bob" with the Terrorist letter....

But anyways, enough of that, what happens next with me filing an appeal? Will it take a while before I hear from Unemployment? What will they ask my former employer? Will it be for their evidence? I have never been written up or had to sign anything by having a chewing, or a "verbal" talking to, this is the first. I graduated today at the top of my class (Director's Award and Top gun) which pretty much sealed the deal with the employer I chose through the job Placement. Orientation is June 1st, lasts 2 days, then it is on the road. 3 weeks @ 12hours a day has paid off. I won't need the unemployment then, but this has become more of the principal, and what was what I earned and wrongfully taken away from me and my family, placing a hardship on us.



May 08, 2009
Good Luck at the Unemployment Hearing
by: Chris - webmaster:)

John,

I'm very happy for your good fortune in finding another job!

I don't know how long it took for the state to send the denial to you, but my experience is that the appeal department is faster. They of course have less "appeals" than the claims department has claims:)

The states are basically under tight control of the feds. I can't say for sure exactly what the time limits imposed on claims is, but once your appeal is received they're suppose to resolve the "issue" in thirty days. I've been told this time and time again by appeal office personnel when being denied a postponement request for an employer. If they do not they suffer consequences.... monetary I think.

You are in Florida which now primarily conducts all appeal hearings via phone. When you get your hearing packet it will have the hearing notice, determination, and any other documents in the state file. This usually consists of documents sent by the employer or a well prepared claimant which is few and far between:)

The packet will also have "instructions" do not .. I repeat, do not fail to read every single bit of information in that packet .. both front and back because this is where you will find the information as to how to submit documents, request postponements, or if necessary subpoena documents. Anything you wish to add to the file will also need to be sent to the employer as well as the hearing officer.

I think it is important for any claimant who will be representing them self (nearly all) to read up on the rules of procedure for hearings in their respective state. If I had to choose which bone to pick about the "system" it would be the lack of emphasis by some (most) states. They instead downplay the fact that you are acting as your own legal representation. Believe me, they do not cut you any slack if you go further in the process ( if needed) When I read decisions I always take note of this. I've even read some that note a claimant is assumed to know the laws or statutes and ignorance is not a factor .. Too bad they don't tell us all that at the front door.

When I talk about procedures .. I'm talking about the rules that the state uses to conduct "administrative hearings" which is what a lower level unemployment appeal is. An example is some state will not allow hearsay testimony, therefore you would object, but others allow it but hearsay never carries as much weight as direct testimony. Don't waive any rights unless you understand the consequences of doing so. Conversely, occasionally waiving a right could be beneficial if the employer is ill-prepared.

Why do I think it's important to familiarize yourself?? Just in case an appeal to a higher authority is needed. Any further appeal will need to based on a "procedural error" by the hearing officer. They usually do not allow further information to be added to the record, but if you can show something wrong with the HO's reasoning .. like giving more weight to or allowing hearsay testimony.


May 08, 2009
I'm long winded
by: Chris

I wish you all the best and even though you don't need the benefits anymore .. if you get them, it will be like a windfall:) And by the way .. if you haven't already, please read the Disclaimer. I'm not an attorney or even a paralegal .. I'm just sharing stuff I picked up along the way:)

May 10, 2009
RE:
by: John

I did not say I have a job, but finished my CDL Training, I still have Orientation for 2 days (June 1st) and if I make it through that then I go on the road for about 4 to 5 weeks for company training, then if recommended by my trainer, I will get my own truck and have the job. I just stand a better chance at this now. But even if I had a job today, I would not let this go, not by a longshot, I took enough from this company.

And in the last passage, is that you Chris? or some imposter posing as you?


Nope, that's me:)))
Hey John, I actually have a CDL My spouse and I thought it might be a good way to run away from home a number of years back. It didn't work out .. for a number of reasons, not the least of which, it's tough to back up one of those "big rigs" straight for 80 feet:)

But I now know from "experience" that trucking companies do use "cost control companies" and they are amongst the best employers at "documenting". My advice .. always keep a scrupulous logbook and stay in the right hand lane:)) It's a tough profession with heavy responsibilities.

If you ever win one of those truck drivin rodeos .. you be sure to come back and upload a pic.

And I definitely want to hear how the hearing comes out.

May 21, 2009
I HEAR U!!
by: Anonymous

I AM GOING THRU THE SME THING AS YOU! I JUST HAD MY APPEAL AND FEEL AS THOUGH IT WENT VERY WELL MY PREVIOUS EMPLOYER STUMBLED ON HIS WORDS AND CHANGED THE REASON WHY I WAS FIRED TWICE, FINALLY THE HEARING LADY SAID SO WHAT UR SAYING IS SHE WAS TERMINATED DUE TO HEARSAY AND HE SAID YES, IM HOPING THAT WAS GOOD IN MY FAVOR BECAUSE I FEEL I WAS WRONGFULLY TERMINATED.



May 21, 2009
Hi Anonymous
by: Chris - webmaster:)

Wow! I'm impressed you read through all that .. this is one of the longer question and answers.

Just wanted to let you know .. it sounds good for you. I'd make a bet you won:)

Chris

Jun 21, 2009
Had the Appeal....
by: John

He Chris, I am back home from the road, still in training, have about 120 hours of the 300 hours of training now, always walking on pins and needles as the trucking industry is overloaded with workers and are weeding us out slowly and legally.
BUT, I had my appeal the other day, I did not really have to say a thing. St. Moritz Security shot themselves in thier foot. The questions that did it was : 1. was John ever issued a employee manual? They responded, as far as we know, no he was not. Then, so he would not have known your policies? Responds: Well that should be common knowledge that an employer expects.

and 2. Tell me about this insubordination. Responds: He was refusing direct orders from his superiors, argumentative, back talking and becoming close to being violent. He was spoken to and explained that his job was in jeopardy, his superiors felt he learned his lesson, so 2 days later he was promoted to Captain. Mediator: I thought your policy for insubordination was immediate termination? No comment, and no comment was used through the rest of the hearing. I recieved my letter 3 days later that the decision was overturned in my favor.


Thank you for your words of advice Chris!!


I'm sure your feeling of satisfaction is greater than mine .. but it sure feels good .. doesn't it?

I have tremendous respect for those that become "professional drivers". It's not an easy occupation and one I think carries with it a great deal of responsibility. I wish you well .. and every time I flash my lights to let a trucker know all is clear to get back over in front of me .. I'll think of you John:)

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