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Fired for Attendance, Appealed, Now Denied for Misconduct

by Frances
(North Carolina Unemployment Benefits)

I was fired for tardiness. The majority of times I clocked in late were less than 5 min. It takes 5 min just to wait while you log onto a computer to clock in. Just after as I was fired the company changed attendance policy so that it allows a 5 min leeway to clock in. Of course I was not allowed to mention this during my appeal hearing because it was ’not relevant’.

The decision I got from the unemployment commission was that I was to be denied benefits for substantial fault of my own, for 9 weeks. I did not know when I filed the appeal I was disqualified for 9 weeks, I thought I was just disqualified. At the hearing the reason for my attendance issues came into question and I told them the same thing I told my employer, I sleepwalk, especially when stressed, and turn all 5 of my alarms off and never even know about it until I wake up. The reason I do this quite humiliating, and I am utterly ashamed of it. I am an opiate addict in recovery. I also suffer from extreme social anxiety and depression. The medication I take is Methadone, and it makes me absolutely exhausted. It can be quite hard somedays just to make myself get out of bed (That may be due to the depression as well).
I did not tell my employer about my problems, I did not know it was a disability. One of my coworkers suspected I was abusing drugs and to my horror he picked on me relentlessly about it. It often made me consider suicide. The reason I felt that my addiction was none of my employers concern was because I just knew he would fire me, and tell everyone I worked with. As soon as they found out they would bully me just like guy already doing it.
In the hearing for the appeal I had I was still reluctant to tell them about my problem. I also said that I did not tell my employer because I thought It was
none of their concern. I did not mention the previous coworker bullying me. I also did not mention that the reason for not telling my employer was out of fear of being fired and fear of being humiliated by coworkers,

Is it worth getting a lawyer and filing for a second appeal?



Hi Frances,

I can't tell you whether it's worth a board appeal because board appeals are based upon the record created at the hearing and usually how the hearing officer erred.

However, I do find it interesting that you were not allowed to bring in the fact that the employer altered their rules to allow a 5 minute leeway, as that might of been helping to establish that the rule you were fired under was not a reasonable rule .. and that it required you to be at work 5 minutes early .. without pay to be on time.

I read or heard recently about a court decision which found that to be an unreasonable.

What you need to do is fill out the referral form for a hearing rep as I do have someone that is able to represent people in NC because he has a supervisory letter from a NC attorney.

I can't promise that he will take your case .. or that it will even do any good to appeal, but even the rep won't know what to argue in written form until he has access to the record of the hearing.

Frances, I would like to say that most of your story about what you focused on at the hearing .. wasn't helpful to what you should have focused on at the hearing ..

I understand that it is relevant to you, but it's not relevant to the state nor the employer and whether the reason for termination amounted to real work related misconduct .. or the hefty 9 week disqualification .. at the very least I think it should have been the lowest number of weeks allowed because the employer's new rules recognized their previous rule might be a bit on the unreasonable side.

Chris

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