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Bad Weekend + Plane to Catch = FIRED in WI

by Anna
(Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits)

For a few years I worked closely with a subcontractor on my construction projects. When their office manager decided to move away she asked if I wanted to replace her. I negotiated a part time schedule, pay & responsibilities with her and she got her bosses ok to bring me on. The day after she drove away in her UHaul I started work with no training whatsoever. I hit the ground running and immediately hit a brick wall.

She had warned me about this guy's hot/cold temper but I figured I could handle it. After 8 months of a 40+ hour schedule I planned my first vacation - 5 days for my honeymoon. I reminded my boss that I would be out of the office the following week at Thursday. By end of day Friday no conversations had been had regarding payroll processing the following Monday. Being a Union shop, missing payroll was not an option.

So I decided that I could swing by the office QUICKLY on Monday morning to get payroll done before starting my vacation. When I got to the office my boss was in a horrible mood, slamming filing cabinets and cursing. As I quickly negotiated timecards he screamed out to me that he wasn't able to find a file.

Now, I have to say that to this point in time he and I had gone head to head a few times. He liked to yell & scream. He liked to send inappropriate emails. He liked to comment on political and racial issues. I yelled back when necessary. I ignored him on other occasions. So when he started screaming I tuned him out - replying that as soon as I was done with payroll I'd find what he couldn't.

He didn't like that answer. He stood in my doorway and proceeded to tell me he had had a bad weekend and didn't need my attitude. I told him I had a plane to catch and didn't need his. He then called me a name that rhymes with 'witch' and told me to get out (feel free to add some color to that statement as well). I told him that I'd be more than happy to leave the office as soon as payroll was completed and reminded him that I was on vacation.

That sent him over the edge. He told me he didn't need me and told me I was fired. He forbade me to touch the computer and told me to pack up my desk and leave immediately.

I was beside myself. I said 'really? I came in on my day off to make sure everyone got paid and you're going to fire me because I didn't jump to help you find a file??' He said he was the boss and could do what he wanted and he was tired of me. He had just hired a new salesguy (a week prior) and said he could get him to do my job.

So I told him to go for it. I packed up my things, tossed my key on the desk, walked out to my car & immediately called his boss to tell him what happened. Because he was as used to this guy's melt downs as I was, his boss told me to enjoy my honeymoon & we'd discuss it when I got back.

Only instead what
I had were several phone calls back and forth with the adjudicator who indicated my prior boss was contradictory with this details and story. She indicated having spoken with the new sales employee as well who agreed that I was rude. All this after receiving an email from HR indicating they weren't disputing my claim at all!

The determination letter came today - needless to say I was denied for 'deliberate insubordination'. Amazing - I went in on my day off to make sure people got paid and was not only fired but denied benefits and yet I am the one cited for misconduct.

I'm planning to appeal. I'll contact an attorney tomorrow. Tonight I'm still shaking my head at the poor judgement of the adjudicator and audacity of my former employer.

Answer For: Bad Weekend + Plane to Catch = FIRED in WI

Hi Anna,

Well, first of all, you've got to know that this type of behavior form an employer quit shocking me long ago. This is precisely the type of "boss" that made me go home at night feeling like one of the devil's own.

And as for the bad adjudication .. well I earn a living from them .. because people should appeal when they know the employer is lying and when the adjudicator is taking an employer story as the most credible or got the facts all wrong .. and they do.

You also have the email from HR saying they wouldn't protest. Use it at the HR level as that's the dept. that sees potential liability in the actions of those in charge on the ground.

I received your email by the way and sent you a regretful response about dealing with the Milwaukee appeal office .. at least in terms of getting my hearing rep referral service to work.

And yes, considering the fact that your former boss has enlisted others to put you down .. so to speak, I do think you need to be represented.

In fact, if I had read this first, I would have sent you to a different rep to see if he could swing phone participation as he excels at putting employers like this to sleep.

As far as I can tell, you actually could have had good cause to quit.

Although foul language itself may not fly as good cause, being personally targeted in the language is the fodder for proving a hostile work environment ..

The difficulty in these situations is that there is usually no documentation. It becomes he said/she said.

And when this is the case, the ALJ is given wide discretion to judge credibility.

You can imagine that this can make the outcome uncertain.

I offer up your adjudication as an example. Personal bias of UI personnel does play a part in the process and the solution is to appeal, but you shouldn't uncross your fingers that the ALJ is more practiced at removing their personal bias before making impartial decisions on credibility.

What's weirdest about this is that the adjudicator thinks you were rude based on hearsay from another that had little working experience if any with you. You did say it was a "new" sales person .. right?

Unfortunately, put up with and do things to keep jobs that they wouldn't do at any other moment in their life.

How sad is that.


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