Denied benefits due to absenteeism

So my denial letter said they denied me unemployment because I was “discharged for absenteeism”. I missed a lot of days for health issues and the last day I missed was for my aunt dying. The next day I came back they told me I could resign or be terminated so I resigned due to health and family issues. My manager and the lady from Human Resources told me to write out and sign the paper saying I resigned due to health and/or family issues. Now I did miss a lot of days for my health issues but I have all the doctors notes from where I missed. They wrote me up 2 weeks before for missing days and on 4/15 my aunt died so I missed that Monday. Tuesday 4/16 is when they gave me the option of resigning or being terminated. I resigned due to health and family issues. So on my unemployment denial they said I couldn’t get it because I was discharged for absenteeism. Now since i resigned for health and family issues do you think I have any appeal case? In the appeal should I say I resigned due to good cause and show them I have all my paper work from numerous doctors?



Hi,

First, you must realize that when an employer tells an employee they must quit, or they will be terminated, for purposes relevant to how an unemployment insurance department decides who should be assigned the burden of proving fault, it should be
a discharge .. because quitting in lieu of being fired, is not a choice that usually provides a path to the employee to remain employed.

I absolutely do get why they fired you when you missed work to attend your aunt's funeral (hopefully that's why you missed) because it had nothing to do with your own health issues for missing a lot of work.

However, when you mentioned it was an HR lady who told you to write out a resignation letter, citing your health and family issues as being the cause of why you were quitting, that only raises questions for me about if you have any way to rebut at a hearing, why your discharge for absenteeism was in fact, not misconduct.

You didn't mention anything about asking for, or the employer ever suggesting you take a medical leave .. whether under FMLA, or not, to know how effective that paperwork from your doctor, will play at an unemployment hearing.

You also didn't mention what state this happened in. Had you, I might of added a link to something specific for you to read, but then you can also find most of the information I link to in other answers here, on the unemployment law and resourcesunemployment law and resources page.

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt, as well as then losing your job, because you attended her funeral .. at least I hope you know, you may also have to prove that as a fact too.

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Won the appeal
by: Mike

My appeal hearing was Tuesday and they deposited money into my account today. So I’m guessing I won the appeal lol. The employer didn’t get on the call so not sure if that helped me our not.

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Appeal
by: Anonymous

It happened in SC. They never offered any medical leave. But the last day I missed wasn’t my aunts funeral it was the actual day she died. So she doesn’t Sunday\Monday morning and that’s the day I missed and the next day Tuesday is when they advise me to resign or be terminated. My appeal is 6/25. should I try to say I quit for a good cause? Maybe that will help with the mid conduct issue? I sent the UI all my days documents from my doctors.


That's not what I would do .. because you didn't quit, you were fired, in spite of the fact you decided to write a resignation letter for the employer.

Chris

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Appeal
by: Mike

Preciate the response. It happened in SC. They never offered me any medical leave. My appeal hearing is by phone on 6/25. I don’t know if I can say I quit for a good due cause or not. But I sent the UI all my documents from the doctors for all the days I missed. The last day I missed wasn’t for her funeral though it was the actual day she died. That Sunday/Monday morning is when she died. Tuesday is when I had to resign.


Hi again,

As I tried to tell you before, you did not quit, for purposes of how unemployment insurance benefits should be adjudicated. When an employer tells an employee quit, or else we will have to terminate you .. it's a discharge, which is likely the reason the state of SC found you were "discharged for absenteeism" instead of quitting due to health reasons.

To be sure you know, I think what happened to you .. was a quit in lieu of discharge .. which is in fact a discharge and means the employer is assigned the burden of proving the fault was your own.

If your employer employs 50 or more employees, they are subject to complying with the Family Medical Leave Act .. even in SC.

Although I will say it's not likely, the St. of SC has an unemployment precedent that states when an employee informs their employer of a health issue, it's reasonable they should inform the employer of that option to file an FMLA claim, to protect their job, either for an extended leave up to 12 weeks per year, or the intermittent kind .. which is common to parents with children who have a chronic health issue.

Aside from this, unemployment insurance in general looks hard at the final incident that finally caused an employer to discharge, or a claimant to quit .. and the problem I see for you is the final incident had nothing to do with your health issues, but the death of your aunt .. and you gave me nothing to run down that road with, to suggest another plausible argument as to why you specifically had not choice, but to take off that day.

I'm not trying to be insensitive to your loss, or what you may of had to do that day to deal with the situation, I'm just trying to forewarn you that the hearing officer won't be swayed by her death alone, because they are mandated to look at the facts objectively to be fair and impartial, to stick to making the law work the way it's supposed to work. My thought is unless you point out some valid reason why after you had been warned about your attendance two weeks prior .. you chose not to come in that day .. for a very good reason that make your choice to not go into work that day reasonable, which the standard is .. as reasonable any other "reasonable person" under the same circumstances would also make the same choice .. to make the employer's decision to tell you quit, or be fired .. unreasonable.

Chris

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