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can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for leaving work area without permission and my actions not in the employers best interest

by Jacquelyn
(Naples, FL)

Please see attached letter explaining what happened leading up to my termination. And I have been denied my unemployment benefits. I am in the process of appeal. My attorney said that

I did not cause any gross malfeasance to warrant not receiving unemployment. is that correct? Also sadly on May 25th my father passed away. Thank you for any advise you can give at this time.

Jacquelyn McCann

April 18, 2009

Dear Lisa,

I am writing concerning what happened to me last week at the Fort Myers Airport. If you are not the appropriate person to be receiving this letter, then please let me know who I should address this matter with and I will bring this to their attention.

Upon arriving at work on Thursday the 16th, I was called into my supervisor **name deleted** office along with my station manager. I was asked to put in writing what had happened on April 9th. However, before I explain that, I first would like to to give you a little background on my situation which is highly relevant to what occurred on the 9th. Eight months ago, in September of 2008, my father was diagnosed with multiple meyloma, which is cancer of the bones and blood. He was diagnosed in Boston and has been receiving treatment there since that time. He is 81 years old. As a result of his diagnosis and condition, I put in for a hardship transfer to Boston and it was refused. I was told that a position had to be available at that airport for me to transfer. I was confused however, because at our station, three employees from JFK were granted hardship transfers to RSW at different times last year when there were no openings posted on the e-bid? When my transfer request was denied, I then asked for a leave of absence and that too was refused due the fact that we were going into our busy season. It was my understanding that I would be entitled to this leave under FMLA, but the leave request was denied. It has been very difficult for me to get the time and flights to go back and forth to Boston to see my father. My supervisor has shown no compassion to my difficult situation at anytime during the past several months.

Three weeks ago I was attempting to go see my father in Boston. The incoming flight that I was going to take was coming in late. I left the airport briefly to meet a friend who was bringing my dog to me so I could bring him on the flight with me. I had left a message on one of supervisors phone that I was attempting to get on the Boston flight and that I had to leave briefly to meet a friend who was driving my dog to the airport, not thinking there was anything wrong with that. I left to meet my friend halfway to the airport and I returned immediately to the airport. Because the flight was so late, the pilot timed out that night, so 157 passengers at one in the morning had to be rebooked by the three of us, ending our shift around 3:30 am. I never did make it to Boston that night. The supervisor I phoned that night spoke to me on my next day of work and said in the case of an IROP you are not allowed to leave the airport or take any of your breaks.

On April 9th I arrived at work at my scheduled time. I was in BSO all night; a second employee was at the ticket counter and a third was at the gates. There is never a supervisor on in the evenings shift or GSC, we handle the airport alone. The three of us never really saw each other all night. The LGA flight was delayed and not arriving until 12:30 pm, then it was supposed to turn around and head to Boston. One of the employees I was working with, not knowing the discussion I had three weeks ago, called me from upstairs and said Jackie "go get the dog so you can take the Boston flight this time." I reluctantly said no I don't think so. My original plans were to leave on the 7 am through ATL the following day, because I had 4 days off. Also, I thought the pilot's and flight attendants would time out. At approximately 9 p.m., I called operations to see if the flight was still going to Boston, he said he was assured by ATL that it would be going. I phoned my friend from home again and this time asked her to bring the dog to the airport, and to call me when she got close. My plan was I
would meet her in the employee lot at which time I could get my bag. I met her at the lot and keyed her in and drove to my car to get my bags. We had a conversation as to how my father was doing then we left the lot and she drove me to the BSO entrance. The ATL flight arrived at 11 pm, at which time I did the BDO's and any claims that had to be taken. At 11:50 Gilda came down to BSO to relieve me and I went to the gates to help Joanne. The LGA flt arrived at 12:30, I drove the jet way to meet the plane helped cleaned inside for a quick turn around and then boarded the passengers. I left on the flight approximately at 12:45. I had clocked out at 11:50 because we were informed that TSA was leaving the entrance at 12:30. I worked an extra 45 minutes and never put in for that time.
I went to the airport in Boston on Wednesday the 15th to catch the 9:45 back to RSW. I asked the ticket counter agent if she wanted to see the letter for the dog. She said no that's ok, it's in the record. Then I asked for the green tag, again she said it wasn't necessary. I then proceeded to the gate, the gate agent paged me upon arrival and asked to see the letter. I told her what the ticket counter agent said and that it was in my record. She said I need to see it anyway. I then asked for a green tag and she said she didn't have any that I didn't need one. A few minutes later I got another page, this time from a supervisor or a lead. She said she wanted to make a copy of the letter to put on file. I was a little confused because I don't work at Logan Airport. She added it would only take a minute that she would go to the crown room and be right back.

As stated above, when I returned to work on the 16th I was called in to meet with my supervisor. In the first meeting I had with my supervisor on my return I told them the story about what happened at the airport concerning the letter. He said maybe they wanted a copy because of what happened the last time. I didn't know what he was referring to. Come to find out he looked to see when I was traveling and checked in and called the airport and requested someone there to fax him my letter.
From the ending of my conversation with my station manager she said my folder was going to be sent the HR for review. I also wanted to ask since my folder from RSW is being sent to you that you request from RES in Cincinnati my records to prove that I am a dependable, hard working and honest person. Considering my father's illness and everything else going on in my life I have given Delta 100%. I am presently on suspension for a technical violation of policy that did not result in a disruption of service to any Delta passenger. My career at Delta is very important to me and I hope this can be resolved in a timely manner, so that I can return to work. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter

Hi Jacquelyn,

I read that whole letter and I still can only speculate about what happened that caused your suspension.

A technical violation of policy?? What was the violation? What exactly did the employer suspend you for?

Leaving work without permission is a violation of a duty reasonably owed to the employer. Explain which part of all the events above is at the crux of the reason for the employer's action.

Although this may not be considered "gross misconduct" by the State of Florida. Florida does have special provisions which allow Florida to impose special disqualifications for gross misconduct of up to 52 weeks, but they do not require that a person be guilty of gross misconduct to deny unemployment benefits for everyday, run of the mill misconduct. All it takes is for an employer to sustain their burden that you willfully, intentionally, knowingly violated an employer rule that you had been made aware of and that any reasonable person would understand that committing the misconduct could possibly jeopardize their job. Of course the details of the situation are always examined and they also want to see if you should have reasonably expected to be dealt with in compliance with an employer's progressive discipline policy or not.

Florida 443.101 Disqualification for benefits

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