Successful Unemployment Benefit Stories Often Begin with Managing the Credible Facts
(In a State With Benefit Recipiency Below the National Average)
Managing the truth to also be credible facts is rocket science, but it is relevant to why I have theorized for others how their unemployment story may work out. Along the way, I think I did a good job of explaining why prevention, is also the best medicine to decrease the odds of being denied unemployment benefits .. when collecting, is a possibility.
The best way for an unemployed person to tell a more credible story for the unemployment department is to stick to the facts relevant to the immediate issue of UI law affecting their claim. If you can verbally explain the facts initially, one should never ignore the fact it is documentation that weights a story with corroboration, that may actually give pause to a claim adjudicatory .. where otherwise they may just deny benefits .. because they aren't sure who is telling the truth .. you, or your employer.
After years of coordinating unemployment appeal hearings for employers, it was often the avoidable mistakes made by claimants who hadn't created their owe paper trail to prove facts, that caused their own initial denial, by ignoring whether they would be better off just letting the employer try to prove the burden of proof of misconduct, or when quitting, just understanding if you say it's so .. you should be able to prove what you say is true .. with a document.
At least this is how I managed the truth in 2006 when I was laid off on an FMLA leave and again in 2009 .. when I quit my job as an unemployment hearing coordinator, that had turned me into an employee of a temp staffing agency. (Ugh!)
The Beginning of the End
It was 2006, and something struck me as odd about the phone call that ended with my job being eliminated.
The position elimination didn't come as a surprise since my employer had recently sold out to the big huge cost control company in the industry. It may be beside the point, but for years employees had been encouraged to see and feel about this new employer as being our despicable rival competitor.
Despicable might be an overstatement, more accurately described as rampant indifference fighting all unemployment claim .. to pretty much everything else including it's employees who knew when facts an employer needed to prove, weren't straight forward ... provable.
So, armed with all the acquired learning, of how employer tactics and strategies work for many reasons, including claimant ignorance of the workings of unemployment departments and the UI laws they enforced individually, I did not let my guard down for a second .. although I recognized a legitimate lack of work claim when mine hit me.
I reverted to doing my job, even if I was currently on an approved FMLA leave .. to make sure I was involved enough to create a solid paper trail .. in case they forced me to disprove something.
I hauled my aching butt off the sofa and checked the dates that were bothering me. The FMLA paperwork I'd received while in the hospital indeed had a different return to work date than what my doctor had told me verbally it would be.
I wasn't shocked there was a discrepancy .. but I was damned if I was going to let a common best practice defeat me of benefits.
I could see it clear as day .. meaning an employers common response to the notice an unemployment claim has been filed by a person who has been of medical leave.
"Claimant voluntarily quit the employment by failing to return to work from an approved leave of absence."
Suffice it to say, I didn't think I had to know there was something fishy with the dates, other than just being a clerical mistake .. I just had to know to speculate what could happen if the wrong date wasn't a mistake, but intended.
So what is a reasonable person to do, when they don't know an employer is up to doing but does know unemployment laws are worked over by their own employer, who happens to be in the business of working laws over to find an advantage for the business end of things in those laws?
Preemptively cover their ass with paper proof, they were not at fault .. that's what!
However, my doctor was on a European vacation and wouldn't be back until after the date I was to be laid off .. so how could he release me to go back to work .. one week before I was to be laid off .. for a lack of work?
What turned out to bother me the most .. wasn't a potential clerical mistake with the return to work date, but that it took me two weeks of emailing the leave management company, to convince them they need to change my FMLA to return to work date on their paperwork to coincide with the day I was to be laid off.
Further, when I was finally was released back to work by my doctor and filed a claim, when spoke with the adjudicator she confirmed my crazy suspicious mind that was
able to fax email exchanges that proved I had not voluntarily quit by failing to return of a leave of absence.
Even at this point I might of went with my first inclination to learn how to build a website, so I could sell handmade Xmas ornaments .. had it not been for what happened next .. regarding my unemployment claim.
Shortly after filing my former employer graciously invited me to apply for other positions that still existed within the organization. Not surprisingly .. they emailed the invitation to apply for jobs.
Not exactly what I'd call a bona fide offer to work, but then I already knew about a tool of the trade called an "informational letter".
In terms other employees might think about that letter .. lets just say it's often begins by clicking the report unemployment fraud button on an official state website.
Once again, I was just assuming there could be an alternative for the offer to apply for other jobs.
No, I did not jump for joy when I received the email offering a job with a title for TAX Auditor, but I might of said ugh!
I also didn't jump up and down, a few days later when the phone came rescinding the job offer. But my dog perked up when I hung up and let out a loud sigh of relief.
Have you noticed a pattern of behavior when employers document .. or don't document communications with employees yet? Or my pattern to document as a means to prove what the content of a conversation might be .. to benefit me?
No? Well then you might just be surprised to hear that not too long after I sent a cordial email thanking the employer for the offer, and disappointment the offer had been withdrawn, I received a call from the unemployment department again .. wanting to know why I had refused an offer of suitable work.
That was the tipping point .. that pushed me over the edge to think .. Unemployment Tips .. for Claimants????
Recognize When You Have Lost Control Due to No Good Facts Left To Manage
I do not like the position of being the bearer of bad news, but I have explained to more than just myself, when I know the news .. doesn't look too good.
The next time my former employer contacted me .. they called, but it began with friend and former supervisor saying, I'm sorry, but I've been instructed to ask, if you would consider coming back to work temporarily to do your job that was eliminated.
I knew there was no way to continuing collecting unemployment if the UI dept were to call one more time and ask if .. and why I had refused an offer of suitable employment.
And it wouldn't matter to the UI dept if the caveat to the offer was that it was only temporary work, or that I would be doing my former job .. as the employee of a temporary staffing agency.
S*%T .. one of my favorite words, but to write the word out loud .. is difficult for me, because it would now be a matter of documenting that I know the real meaning of the word.
This was my unemployed reality in late 2006. Over the course of months, I'd gone from a fifty-three year old full-time, non-exempt employee working 50-55 hours a week (loved that overtime pay) with good medical benefits .. to getting sick and needing surgery to use the health benefits I paid 40 percent of the premium each month on to being laid off while out on an approved FMLA leave unable to afford the COBRA premiums .. to being offer my old job back .. on the condition I would remain a benefitless employee of a temp agency without any paid time off .. whatsoever .. and no allowance to work overtime .. although the workload was not more than double what it had been when I was laid off.
By the time 2009 rolled around I was still working as a temp employee, but now around seventy hours a week just to stay on top of a workload that had gone from 80 hearing to 350 hearings and not getting paid any overtime .. because I was trapped in that old mindset I couldn't be fired for not performing my job well.
But I developed another health problem and neither the old employer, nor the new temp employer would provide a medically recommended work accommodation.
Don't know about you .. but that sounds like the beginning of the makings for a voluntary quit with good cause, that led to a discharge with the burden of proof requiring proof of misconduc.. which led to me, being allowed to collect unemployment with the initial determination ..which of course led to my former employer appealing for the temp agency losing a tribunal appeal hearing and then .. having their appeal to the board of review dismissed also .. because sometimes an unemployment cost control company .. appeals and fights benefits .. just to appease a client's idea there is never good cause to pay unemployment benefits.