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Employer claims voluntary quit I claim wrongful termination- how do I handle the appeal as been denied benefits?

by Michelle
(Grand Island, NE USA)


I am currently living in the state of Nebraska and had been working for a particular employer for over 6 years. All of my reviews have always been excellent and I have always been said to go above and beyond what was expected.

At the start of the year, out of respect to my employer, I informed them that I had recently got engaged to a man that lived out of state and would be leaving my position in about six months. After that I had come to find out that the company had been having some financial trouble. During the first week of February I was forced to take some time off of work due to the slower schedule so I decided to make use of the time that I had to take and also add a couple more days so I could spend some time with my fiance as he was able to come. His flight was due to fly back on a Wednesday but was delayed until Saturday because of weather so I called my other coworkers to see if any of them would be willing to cover my shift! They both denied so I went into work on Thursday as usual. In the middle of the morning I asked my boss if I could work through lunch and leave early in the afternoon- I explained to him the situation. He did approve that I leave and just requested that I inform the others. I will add here that this is a very common thing and had just happened a week before with a different employee. Everything seemed to be going as usual- I informed the my fellow coworkers but the problem started when I went to tell my office manager. She became very upset and said that if I leave I will no longer have a job. I informed her that my request had already been approved by my boss and owner of the business and that I still had over 17 hours of personal time which according to the handbook taking personal time does not even require and form of coverage or prior approval. I did leave shortly after that but later that evening I called my boss and left a message requesting that he call me back so we could talk about things and work them out. He never returned my call so I emailed him again requesting that we get together and resolve the issues. I understand now that I probably should have just went in the next day but I felt like I was fired and was waiting to hear from my boss otherwise- but he didn't respond. Early Friday Morning my manager called demanding the key which I refused to give as I still had all of my personal items at my desk and I again requested that my boss call me and we would discuss things! I have never hear back from them except when I demanded payment on vacation leave which they originally refused but after I threatened to take
them to court they payed! Now I have been denied unemployment benefits because my letter says that I voluntarily quit because of some conflict with a supervisor and personal reason outside of work. Everything about this situation was way out of the norm for anything that I had every experienced in all of the time that I had worked there and it seems that they had planned to figure out a way to let me go as I had already told them I was leaving! I will add here that they had been pressuring me constantly for my letter of resignation when the handbook only requires a two week notice and the week before my termination the office manager got very angry with me when I refused to clock out for an eighty minute office meeting that I was required to attend. I have already appealed but really not sure how to prove my case except focus on the personal time as everything else is her word against mine! Thank you very much for your time and consideration on this matter!

Hi Michelle,

First of all, wrongful termination requires the employer to do something legally questionable.

Given that the United States recognizes the "at will" employment doctrine .. the employer either has to break a law or an employment contract with regard to your termination to be considered "wrongful".

You are asking me to discuss your specific situation and offer advice on how you might win the appeal .. I do this, but not with a free answer.

What I can tell you is that if the policy for requesting time off benefits you .. you should use it to show that you were fired without cause.

You will simply need to present testimony that the employer was the moving party by firing you and that when you left that day you reasonably thought that you had been fired.

But then even if you do manage to do that .. the state will then have to decide if this "final incident" provided the employer with good cause to fire you for what basically may amount to "insubordination".

Which brings us back around to the policy and the fact that you had been given "permission" by your boss.

The question I have is why you had to tell the "office manager" after getting permission.

Who should you have really gotten permission from?

In other words Michelle. I don't think you given me the information I think would be relevant to know in order to help you .. because I would want to know more about how the employer operates and what they might have to say.

And since you mentioned it .. what does quitting in six months to get married or the financial woes of the employer have to do with what happened to you.

I do not believe you made a relevant connection between this and the separation .. although one could speculate .. I guess, but the state doesn't do that .. they only care about what went down that day.

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Mar 14, 2010
Just want to know what my chances are
by: michelle

I know it is hard to say but do you think I have a strong case with the office policy on taking personal leave?

The fact is that obviously I can't prove to the judge what was said and what was not said. The only proof is my actions after the fact. When I left I felt like I was fired- otherwise why would I try and call my boss and try to set up a time to fix things?

Point two- even after no returned call from my boss I emailed him again trying to set up a time to resolve things.

All of my personal belongings were still left in the office.- in fact they were just picked up last week as I have been trying to get together and talk.

The very morning after I was fired the office manager was calling demanding my office keys and at that time I told her that I would be talking to my boss about it and I requested that he call me!

I can show several attempts on my part to try and resolve the issues which I would think should show that I didn't just willingly leave!! Not sure what they could come up with for a reason to fire me though as there really isn't any- except what you said- subordination- but even at that- what she was demanding was out of line according to the office handbook.

I am not sure if I had mentioned this before but this current office manager is fairly new to the office- had been there less than 3 months at the time I was terminated. Not sure if this makes a difference or not!

Hi Michelle,

I wouldn't call it a strong case, but there's may be an argument in that the written policy was not enforced and that possibly the actions of the employer were unreasonable .. it's iffy at best.

If you would like to arrange a time to discuss it .. you can begin that process by filling out the form on this page.

Mar 14, 2010
office procedures
by: Anonymous

According to the handbook under personal leave which is what I was taking I am not required to request permission from anyone! The only thing that the handbook requires is that they be notified as soon as possible! The way this office works is we are a medical office- there are front staff and back staff- I was one of the back staff. Like I said before- people working through lunch and leaving early is very common and normally the only thing that we have ever done is just let the other back staff know- which would include the boss and owner of the business as the back staff works directly with him. When this happened with a different person a couple weeks before I didn't even know they were leaving until they were half way out the door- which is fine and frequently happens! Again- this has always been acceptable in the past with me and all the others.

The normal process for taking time off however is that we need to get someone to cover the shift and fill out the form to get approval from the office manager as well as the boss. To my knowledge no one has ever had to fill out this form for leaving early- and I know I have never done this either in times in the past. There is never a time however that we go to the office manager first- we always either talk to the others or get coverage and the office manager is the last informed if informed at all.

I do understand what you are saying about wrongful termination and I understand that in this state as well as others they can terminate any one at any time for any reason unless it is discrimination.

The reason I added the other issues about the financial situation and the fact that I am getting married is because I feel like this whole thing was set up and planned on the office managers part. At Christmas time there was a rumor going around the office that he was going to fire someone because of the light schedule and lack of funds. I know that one of the other back staff members was even applying for other jobs as she was the last person that was hired and felt she would be the first to go. I feel like since I told them I was going to be leaving in a few months they just elected to get rid of me- but they didn't have any reason to do it so had to find something. To my knowledge they have not hired anyone to fill my position. I had heard them talking about what they would do after I left and they had only planned on hiring someone part time if even that!

I would like to set up a time when I could get your advice and the best way to go about things!

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