Discharged for attendance and employer now appealing the benefits
I worked for my former employer for over 10 years. In the last year after having my son, I had to miss a lot of work due to either him being ill and not being able to drop him at daycare or myself being ill. I always always called and gave proper notice. However, I was written up and they will have paper documentation that I was warned but I had no choice but to miss work. I was finally discharged due to attendance in November and filed for unemployment which was approved initially but I just recently received a letter about my former employer appealing. I have not received a date for the hearing yet but I did already request a copy of my personnel file. I am going to state that prior to my "final incident", I worked for 2 weeks before they fired me. If it was my last straw, they should've just fired me immediately if this progressive attendance policy is what they're enforcing. Also, I have notes stating I took my son to see a doctor for 2 of the incidents on file. I never turned them in beforehand because I didn't think it would matter and my supervisors never suggested that if I had one it would excuse anything which I am now finding out is the case. I never missed a lot of work before having my son so this scenario is new to me. Other than the write-ups, how can they prove misconduct? I have compelling reasons for my absences. Is the fact that I signed write-ups probably enough for me to lose the appeal?
Hi, I'm not sure if that was your real first name or not, but I removed all but the first .. as it was also a beautiful and rather unique name .. or at least I thought so.
Clearly, the number of incidents may affect the outcome .. If it's thought to be excessive, there may be some uncomfortable questions to answer as to whether as an employee truly desirous of staying employed .. might of sought out alternative care for the days your child was ill.
But I will assume otherwise for the sake of this discussion.
Whether signing a written warning is required by an employer or not, can depend on whether the form states your signature acquiesces an admission to the rule or policy violation as stated by the employer. At least this is how I was trained to look at signatures replaced
with a "employee refused to sign".
When it does not mean you're admitting to breaking a rule or policy there is usually a provided space for any "employee comments" or you could also add "see attached for employee response" when you don't have enough space.
Sometimes a refusal to sign a form that isn't an admission of guilt on principle alone, could end up being a discharged for insubordination (failure to follow a reasonable directive to sign the form) .. that sticks as misconduct.
Given that I've seen about a million written warning up close and personal, without nary an employee comment .. I tend to stress ( I know after the fact) the benefit of counter documenting whenever an employee is faced with signing a warning. Especially, when one doesn't agree with how the employer related the incident on the write up.
Dr. notes are rebuttal evidence that like a written warning makes an employee aware of employer rule violations .. can be used to make an employer aware the incident (absence in your case) was beyond the control of the employee.
However, having said this .. the reason I tell people counter documenting is important for an employee as well is because it improves credibility of conversations. When it comes to making it clear the employer was informed by you of the reason you were absent from work .. the purpose of written warnings become clear when there really was an avoidable rule violation.
So yes, submit your doctor notes, offer your truthful testimony about how you made your employer aware of the reasons for the absences.
But know this .. choosing our health .. our childrens' health and their care while they are ill .. is a reasonable and objective choice we have to make .. regardless of warnings about attendance ..
Some states will disregard those Dr. documented occurrences because the termination didn't take into account the reasonable circumstances causing a violation of an attendance policy found in employee handbooks everywhere.
However, for good measure, I'll keep my fingers crossed that the last occurrence accounts for one of those notes
As for the delay in discharge until two weeks after the final incident .. do you know if the employer will have any reasonable explanation for the delay?
Aside from your personnel file .. you should get a copy of the state's claim file before the hearing.
It's sometimes quite revealing and useful to see the adjudicator notes of any conversation with the employer during their investigation.