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Does the employer have just cause for firing me because a person that physically intimidated me, complained about something I said to him?

by JR

I was fired and I was not told what rule I violated.

I was at the end of my shift and stopped to get air in my truck tire at a place that worked on the company trucks. When I asked the guy for air he walked away and I overheard him make references to me being "retarded" and "the retarded one wants air in his tire"

This is not the first time this guy had called me retarded. I went and sat in my truck and waited ten minutes for him to come out, walk around the truck two times. I got out of the truck and asked him about the air. He got irate started yelling at me raising his hands and stepping towards me stating "I don't know, I can't make that decision" due to his actions I felt threatened and stated "F--- you just get away from the truck." I did not yell or threaten him in anyway. I then left, at which time I spoke with my boss via phone, and explained what happened. He laughed and stated that this guy was in the wrong and he would have handled it the same way, told me "don't worry about it, have a good weekend"

So of course I thought everything was fine, I was even going to apoligize to the guy next time I seen him cause I felt bad for lowering myself to his level and that is just how I am. Upon returning to work my next scheduled day, He called me in the office and said he looked at the other guys statement and we had to part ways. I found out later this guy had been known to conduct himself in this manner and had called other people names the remark "he's known to do this" was made by my boss's assistant. I had one write up for paper work and nothing else. I worked there for nineteen months and had an excellent evaluation with a nice raise. I called off two times the whole time I was there. I was denied unemployment and I appealed the redetermination. They say the employer had "just cause" due to I violated a company rule. the company policy is three
write ups then a suspension then termination. but that was not my case.

What do you think my chances are in winning and if I am denied again what else can i state or need for my hearing?

Hi JR,

I'll make an asssumption here (I don't like having to assume, it's dangerous and the root cause of all kinds of problems:) The employer fired you for inappropriate conduct.

Yours is basically a situation of he said/ he said.

It sounds like the employer has a statement from this guy, but unless they actually provide him as a witness offering testimony at the hearing, the statement itself will not carry as much weight as your "direct" or first hand testimony of the incident.

Just so you can get a bit more understanding of what it is the hearing officer needs to find in your favor ..

An employer should always protect or at least investigate "thoroughly" an employees complaint of physical intimidation, or harassment of any type inflicted by a fellow employee AND a vendor or customer of the employer.

It sounds like from your story that this is not the first time the employer has been made aware of "tendencies" of this person. The bosses assistant verified this for you.

An unemployment hearing officer is charged with determining a lot of things. One of those things .. is credibility .. and guess what JR, a person solid in the truth "sounds credible".

These hearing officers hear all kind of employment horror stories and scenarios .. day in and day out. They have highly developed BS detectors.

If this sounds like I my advice is to just go forward, tell the truth, and highlight through your answers and questions for the employer witnesses the things that explain the employer did not have good cause to fire you for this incident because you had informed the employer of what happened and explained your reaction was cause by your fear and feeling of physical intimidation of this person .. and the employer had told you this guy was known for this kind of behavior and then took this same person statement as cause to discharge you .. without giving you an opportunity to respond(?)

Then you got my message.

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