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Employer is Lying About Their Reason for My Termination

by Heather

I went to corporate HR to report that my boss was illegally adjusting employees time and that this could be reported to Wage and Labor. I have proof of this. The HR representative I talked to was not supposed to speak with him about this but my assistant was also aware of this conversation. HR agreed to discreetly check into it and less than a week later I was fired.

I’m unsure if she (HR) told him what we discussed, or if it was my assistant, but I’m fairly certain this is why I was terminated. I was never written up but my boss would often create fake write ups after employees were terminated. I attempted to speak with my former assistant to get my file (we were HR) and she ignored my communication. My UI claim was denied because they said I disobeyed an order. This did not happen. I also needed my former assistant to be a witness to what happened but again, she won’t speak to me.

What should I say at my appeal hearing? How can I get a witness if they will not communicate with me?

Hi Heather,

You can subpoena witnesses, but unless you know how to handle a hostile witness .. it may be time to move on and find another way to lay out some credible facts to rebut your guilt of misconduct.

Suspicions about why you, or any other employee might really end up fired aside, I think it's best at this point to focus on the reason the employer gave the unemployment department for firing you, especially if not true, because it's the employer's burden to prove you're guilty of misconduct, as that connects to working a job.

So ....

"My UI claim was denied because they said I disobeyed an order."

This brings to my mind a common initial employer response, such as when there was no disciplinary paper trail that could support the initial response if there was no other reason to discharge .. sadly, more times than should ever be counted.

"The claimant was discharged for insubordination after they failed to follow a reasonable directive from the employer."

Insubordinate acts by an employee may indeed be enough for their immediate discharge, such as failing to follow through on a reasonable expectation of just doing a job correctly, and that ended up costing the employer a little, or a lot of money (the harm caused).

Or insubordination may also be found as misconduct when the harm was small, such as refusing to sign a write-up for just about anything.

What is as troubling now, as it was when i suspected it as a hearing coordinator, is the first hand witness (the boss you were insubordinate
to) is accustomed to practicing a deception by post documenting written warnings .. as a mean to cover their own ass. And please believe me, I had the experience of suspecting this may of been happening .. even before I submitted the evidence for the employer, prior to the hearing.

Back then though .. all I could do was hope the claimant would suspect too and know they would need to find a way around the potential harm of write-ups they never received .. as well as a common lack of a witness willing to corroborate to weight their own testimony.

I do know written warnings with "Refused to sign" in the space where an employee's signature should of been, along with a blank empty space, where employee comments can help to counter document and raise a valid reason to disagree with a fabricated cause for a write-up .. can be a problem to overcome, depending on the questions you need to ask.

Doesn't matter now Heather, who told your boss you made the complaint to HR as long as you might be able to show you did make the complaint, which not ironically, I can well believe may of led to your termination less than a week later.

But, that's precisely the kind of retaliatory behavior an HR person should want to help a company avoid. I mean what responsible corporation would provide training to it's supervisors and managers to avoid acting in such a fashion .. because it's not legal behavior for a boss to retaliate against a subordinate .. just because that subordinate asserted an employee right, for themselves, or others.

Of course this is precisely why one of the best tips I consistently offer, is to document, document, document .. even if you only think you might have to prove/rebut an untruth presented as if fact, at some point in the future ..if only to just collect unemployment benefits.

Employees lie, even if they remain behind of the boss of other subordinate employees and act as an agent of the corporation at a hearing.

Which is why I will always be a strong believer/proponent of claimants being represented at lower level unemployment hearings too, because it's often the skills of hearing reps that help you when they protect your rights to due process during a hearing, including the one opportunity you get to trip up a lying employee of the employing unit .. on cross examination.

Finally, I can't really tell you with any certainty what you should say to win this hearing Heather .. because preparing for a hearing, extends to also be prepared for the unexpected things that can happen during a fair and impartial full fact finder hearing.

Chris -

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