Appealed a Denial of Unemployment After Being Fired for Sexual Harassment
Snapshot of Indiana unemployment benefits from 2006 to 2015
I am a female and I had a recently married female co-worker harass me at work.
She always made sure she asked me when no one else was around, if I would go home with her and her wife for a three way sexual encounter. The first time I blew it off as a joke. I did try to avoid her and asked for a shift change.
She was a supervisor and work was scheduled day by day so I never knew if I would be in her department.
By the next couple of times of saying this to me and I declined;she started making trouble for me. First thing she did was claim I was late from breaks so I would tell her boss who approached me about this that there are cameras that would prove I was telling the truth. I was not reprimanded.
There were other incidents always with her trying to claim I broke the rules. As an employee I missed one day a year, in the past 2 years and I had no disciplinary issues ever.
I came to work and worked about 2 hours and I was called to the HR office. There I was told I violated policy and that I was being terminated. The policy they alleged I violated was non discrimination against a gay male employee. I denied making any comments like that at all, never signed anything.
They told me two women said I made the comment and what a surprise! One was the supervisor who hit on me, and the other was her new assistant.
Fast forward past the initial UI denial and we had scheduled a telephone hearing. By then former colleagues told me supervisor had been fired for falsifying quality documents.
HR shows up for the phone conference with no witnesses against me or witness statements, but they did admit that I told them about a previous sexual harassment incident that nothing was done about because they claimed I said I wanted to sleep on it?! Which never happened but I did get the HR to admit on cross that no one heard me say that to him.
Is there a chance they will reverse the UI decision?
Thanks in advance.
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I think Indiana should reverse the initial determination.
1. the employer
lacked first hand witnesses to support the reason for termination actually happened.
2. It doesn't sound like HR even conducted much of an investigation into the allegations in the first place .. or I would think they'd fall over themselves to make sure it was submitted along with witness statements from the accusers at least .. even if I would tell you object to those statement being allowed into the record as hearsay .. because you couldn't cross examine the person who wrote the statement.
3. You actually got the HR person to admit you had previously came to then about being sexually harassed by one of your accusers.
However, I can't let this go without reminding everyone that Indiana recently changed their administrative law rules, to actually reassign the burden of proof for good cause to be the moving party to the the unemployment hearing ALJ whether it's for a discharge, or a quit.
What this means to me is if an ALJ is biased (oh yes it does happen) toward claimants, or employers in general, that hearing officer could effectively drive their ruling to be what they want, because they know the law, precedents and the rules of procedure very, very well.
Don't know about you, but when a state agency itself has literally given itself even wider discretion, in that they explore and support and issue the last word about something they know nothing about in the first place, that's way to much control for me and something I would call a big conflict of interest for someone MANDATED to be impartial.
To see Indiana in a different light, look at the chart above to see what's happened to it's yearly benefit recipiency rate from 2006 to 2015.
Basically, I really do think you should win this because in other states the employer not only didn't meet it's burden to prove your guilt of misconduct, but admitted to the very reason that explains why this person may of been motivated to strike back at you.
It just wasn't a solid termination from the gitgo .. but then lots aren't, but not everyone is able to cross examine an employer when they get the chance either .. in fact nor cross examining an employer on relevant points that rebut misconduct occurred are how many lose winnable hearings ..