My former employer lied and started getting very upset during the telephone hearing
I thought I would share my experience with all of you about my recent telephone hearing for unemployment benefits.
I quit because my former, immediate supervisor, told me since I had an issue with co-workers for leaving early from work one day, that I should confront them about it ... not my supervisor.
My former supervisor and employer protested my claim for benefits stating I quit because of my hours being reduced. (I quit on August 13th)
My employer had a representative and I had a representative of my own as well. I stated my case with my representative asking me questions (direct examination). I stated I quit because I was unhappy with my co-workers and supervisor. I then explained the final incident that occurred was my supervisor telling me to handle my own problem with my co-workers. And while my representative was asking me another question, my supervisor was talking in the background requesting my representative to repeat the question.
My representative then asked me about a situation that occurred in mid April 2010 where another co-worker(D) threatened to "SLAP" me in front of customers. My supervisor was present in the area when this incident happen. The judge then asked me if co-worker(D) ever threatened me again and what the working relationship was like after the incident. I stated I was never threatened again , but it was tense afterword (enough to affect my working performance, because a couple of weeks after the incident my hours were reduced.) The judge then asked what my issue was with the co-workers that left early one day and why I was bothered my supervisor did nothing about it. I stated "your honor, I was reprimanded either for cutting vegetables too big or long, or not cleaning the floor good enough. I figured if my supervisor was doing this to me, why not everyone else?". The judge finally asked if I did everything I could to get along with fellow employees; I said yes.
My former employer's representative then began asking me what action I took after co-worker(D) threatened me. I stated that I spoke with the big boss, explaining that I did not feel comfortable and requested to adjust my schedule or seek other positions in the company. My request was not granted, and for some reason after the incident, my supervisor kept scheduling me and co-worker(D) together.
When it was my supervisor's turn to answer questions, this is where the hearing really got interesting. I mentioned before that my supervisor interrupted my representative, well my supervisor continued doing that as well as trying to talk over my representative during the cross-examination. My representative asked if my supervisor knew anything about my incident with co-worker(D).
My supervisor stated they heard it hear-say and that it was a non work related issue. My rep then asked "if it was hear-say then why did you not investigate the issue, since it happened in the workplace".
My supervisor then once again stated "IT WAS A NON WORK RELATED ISSUE". My representative then ask, "did you tell my client to confront the co-workers who left early one day, thus giving my client more work to do. My supervisor lied and said "no".
My supervisor then explained in detail that I got into their face, slammed the calendar on the table, did not give them a chance to correct the problem stating they would have helped me,
but it was my bad attitude and bringing up problems in past that irritated my supervisor.
I admitted to everything under oath about that happening, but was not getting defensive in my response. It is funny how my supervisor remembers me getting into their face, slamming the calendar, having a bad attitude, wanting to help me, and bringing up past issues. But does not remember saying "if you have a problem with them, then maybe you should get together with your co-workers and have it out with them."
At this point, the judge concluded that they would mail a decision in a week.
As everyone was hanging up, my supervisor once again interrupted the judge and said there was another person (who was not listed as a witness) who wanted to talk, but the judge had already closed the hearing and stated they would have a decision this coming week.
After reading this entry can I believe that me and my representative made a strong case for "quitting with good cause attributable to the employer", via my honest first-hand testimony, documentation to back it up and my supervisor's contradicting replies and disrespect for my representative and judge. I know this seems very lengthy to read, but I have learned a lot from this website and want to share my experience as many others have.
If nothing else, I think your straight forward objective presentation of what happened at the hearing could go a long way to showing why it is not only advisable to have a hearing rep, but how they can help a person keep the focus where it needs to be and counter what could have been a loser .. quitting because of reduced hours.
Reduced hours might fly in some states, but it should never fly, when a claimant can prove that the reduction was a wrongful punitive measure due to a legitimate complaint they brought forth.
A good hearing rep will argue to the employer's weaknesses.
By the way .. let's give Michigan a plug .. it is the only state I know of that has an unemployment advocacy program.
I believe you should get unemployment because it sounds like your hearing rep did a good job of presenting instances of retaliation for reporting a valid issue to the employer that should have been dealt with.
It sounds like your testimony combined with the employer's stupid testimony, clearly and effectively shifted the burden to the employer to show it was they that acted unreasonably after you confronted "the big boss" with your complaint about your co-worker threatening to slap you "in the workplace".
Instead .. the weight of the facts seem to indicate actions that were intended to be retaliatory against you.
I can tell you this Anthony .. normally the roles are reversed. It's the claimant that gets all twitterpated .. not the employer.
What surprises me is that the employers rep didn't have this loose cannon under control through prepping them with proper hearing etiquette.
A good hearing rep should prepare you for giving testimony. They keep things focused on what needs to be focused upon. They control your case presentation .. and if they are really good they can even evoke emotional responses when they are cross examining.
And Anthony, I'm just a bit superstitious about giving firm yes or no's .. What did your rep think of how it went?