Can i collect unemployment if i have been fired for poor performance?
(Lincoln Rhode island)
I had worked for a large insurance company call center for almost two years when I was fired for my performance. Every month we were evaluated on 5 random calls per month, we would actually take at least 75 calls a day. The monthly evaluations were suppose to give you an idea on how you were performing and we would review them with our managers and she would make any suggestions that could help if necessary. They were scored based on your 5 calls you had evaluated any errors you had made your hold time attendance and adherence to schedule. They were scored Exceeds expectations, successfully achieves expectations, needs improvement, and unsatisfactory. To be honest my first couple of months my calls that were evaluated were not the best they were based on 100 points scoring system where anything under an 87 was considered needs improvement. But every month my overall score card had read successfully achieves and my boss would just tell me to take more time with the calls because I wasn’t losing points for giving out wrong information I was losing points because they felt I was not giving out enough information. Say you were to call me and said you wanted to know if you were covered for a knee surgery. I would have to tell you your copay after finding out if it was in or out of network I had to make sure the deductible if applicable was met if not how much Is left if any also I would have to tell you your coverage for knee braces, physical therapy, in and out of network, office visit copays for follow up visits. If I missed any of that I would had been told I did not resolve the reason or your call. There were several occasions were people would hang up before I could finish telling them all this because they were not interested they just wanted to know if the surgery was covered or not. So it was quite hard to make sure you had crammed all of that info onto your call while also making sure they were not on hold for too long and you followed the script as well as making sure the info you were giving out was accurate. My first couple of scorecards for that portion were at about 85, I could get an 80 on a call and it would throw off my whole evaluation. But again my overall scorecard always read successfully achieves. It was about August last year when I was written up for my performance, I was told I had to get my averages up, even though for several months they had been perfect and again my scorecards never read anything but successfully achieve even a couple of exceeds. Apparently I was being written up for the first couple of months of evaluations being below their standards. I was being told this as I was being told I was doing well and they were sending me to training for learning harder products we were selling which in turn meant harder calls to handle while I was on a written warning. I was told that if my calls were to drop within the 60 days of warning further action would be taken, I never asked what and fortunately it never had gotten to that point. After the 60 days was up my boss said everything is fine and I had nothing to worry about I just had to keep on doing what I was doing and things would be all set. Then it was the end of January I was brought into my boss’s office where she said that I had till March to get my scores up or I would be terminated. So for almost two months I sweated the thought of losing my job even though I had just received a bonus for last years performance and several awards for my customer service performance and my overall scorecards still had read successfully achieves giving me no indication I was at risk of losing my job. March had came and I had met with my boss who again assured everything was all set and had nothing to worry about and to keep up the good work. I then had a call evaluation come back with a 50 because I had given the member the names of psychologist without verify
if they were md’s because she had specifically asked for md psychiatrist, honestly the question had never came up before and I did not check it. So in result my April calls were at an 85 for average even though I had that 50 and still an overall successfully achieves. But on June 4th at about 245 I was told by another manager that mine wanted to see me in the conference room where I found her in tears with some lady from hr and she had told me she had to let me go for my performance. I had no idea or warning that it was coming. It was a tough one because I had worked so hard and gave it my all and really cared about the members. But in return I had filed my claim with Rhode island unemployment where they told me I had to wait till July 23rd for a phone interview to see if I will get benefits I must had applied for over a 100 jobs everything and anything I have been applying for but nothing yet. I have realized that in this economy I have to go back to school and that is my intentions but I have a wife and bills to pay for so it would be a little easier if I knew if I was getting benefits or not. So i'm concerned and interested to see what you would have to say if you think I have a case or not.
I'm not saying it's in the bag, but I definitely think you have a chance to win.
Here is what Rhode Island defines as Willful Misconduct:
For the purposes of this section, "misconduct" is defined as deliberate conduct in willful disregard of the employer's interest, or a knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule or policy of the employer, provided that such violation is not shown to be as a result of the employee's incompetence. Notwithstanding any other provisions of chapters 42 – 44 of this title, this section shall be construed in a manner that is fair and reasonable to both the employer and the employed worker.
I choose, as do many states to use the word "inability" rather than incompetence. But either way .. that's what you need to prove:)
Without seeing the employer documents it sounds like you were on a series of "final written warnings". I also think you need to check the employee handbook to see what the policy is when a person successfully escapes the axe of a final written.
Your account was thorough and detailed and what stuck out for me was your ability to pinpoint "the call" that dragged your overall rating down, yet was still rated as "successful".
I know for a fact that the employer will contest with the fact that you had proven yourself capable by overcoming any deficiencies in the past, therefore when you relapsed into "a warning mode" it must have been due to willful neglect which you had the ability to control.
In the interview, you should focus upon the facts that:
You were not aware your job was in jeopardy .. although it probably says this on the performance evaluations somewhere.
The call that you know brought your overall down and how your failure to verify the MD status was an inadvertent error because you always strived to do the job to the best of your ability and that the mistake that caused your discharge was not willful or intentional in any respect nor neglectful, but due to your INABILITY to perform the duties to the expectations of the employer. You might point out that you were rated monthly on five random calls and you took 75 a day. This seems like a very unreliable and imprecise way to measure overall performance.
Al, your story points out the fact that sometimes a final outcome of an unemployment claim is in the details and to get all those details developed sufficiently .. a hearing may be necessary. I'm telling you this because you may be denied unemployment just because the employer is going to have documents.
Make sure you follow up by verifying for yourself that the employer followed their progressive discipline policy precisely.
And remember that to collect unemployment while attending school, you must still be able and available for full-time work in Rhode Island.