Fired for customer complaints and because "things just aren't clicking"

by james
(Virginia)



So,the new management company made manager A, manager of both hotels. I feared this because of our initial personality conflict issues, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and at first, things seemed like they were going well.

Then, the random customer complaint came in. (which I'm not saying Manager A faked, but it was strange after years with no complaints and actually having compliments.)

The first complaint happened before November. I'm not sure of the exact date to be honest, but the guest said that I yelled at them and put my hand in their face etc. They ended up leaving the hotel and staying at the first hotel next door where they told their story to the staff there. (all of which was complete lies. The guests were upset because I couldn't give them a cheaper rate and left for the cheaper hotel. (The first hotel has cheaper rooms and the second hotel has nothing but suites and free breakfast etc.)

When I came into work I was told I would be written up for this complaint made before November.

I refused to admit anything like this happened and insisted the guests version was all lies. I also asked about whether the video camera we have had been checked to verify, but no one knew how to work it. So, I had to take it upon myself to play with the stupid thing for 2 hours trying to prove my innocence.

Finally, I managed to cue up the event and which proved no hands in face and that we looked as though we were having a pleasant conversation. No one looked like they were yelling and even the guest had a smile on their face at some points so no write up was given due to proof I did nothing wrong.

Then the new complaint came about a month later on Thanksgiving. this day the managers had decided to have housekeeping leave at 12 noon. A note had been placed at the front desk that housekeeping would not be there after that time to clean and that only very basic things like towels and trash would be serviced. The guest that complained was very upset over not getting service.

I tried explaining that housekeeping had left and I was very sorry for the inconvenience etc. But, the guest was very angry. I also referred the guest to the letter on the front desk and said that we tried to let everyone know before hand as much as possible and that housekeeping could service them tomorrow and if they left their trash in the hall that it would be taken care of tomorrow. The guest was still not happy and went to their room.

They later complained that I told them they should have "known better" and that they should have "known about the policy letter we had posted" and I had refused to do anything to help. These were of course blatant stretches of what really happened as at no time did I ever tell the guest they should have known. Basically the guest was saying I was very rude to them. This time I had no proof of the conversation because our cameras have no sound, (something I had complained about many times before, especially after the last incident of complaint and other frequent issues with another employee).

I
was not written up for this complaint because the agm said that after reading the guest complaint, my version of events made more sense.

The last complaint was in December. I'm not even sure what exactly happened this time because I was not offered an opportunity to see or review it. All I was told was it had something to do with a guest and their sofa bedding. This made me think of a situation with a guest the previous week that requested I go up to their room to make their sofa bed up for them.

We were not a full service hotel and at no time was I suppose to leave the front desk for long periods of time. Also, making up beds was not something I was trained to do, or part of my job description since I worked the front desk. None of this, did I tell the guest, but instead stated that I was sorry I couldn't make their sofa bed for them, but I had bedding at the front desk and they could pick it up whenever they liked.

The next week I was called by manager A and the agm, stating had been another complaint about me.

I asked what it was for and they said it involved sofa bedding and being rude again and that they would have to let me go this time.

They said they were very sorry, but something with "our guest and you are not clicking" and that they were making the decision to part ways and that I could use them as a reference for any job. They also told me I was a great employee and they appreciated everything I did for the company, but at this time they would have to let me go.

I insisted that whatever complaint was made, it was not true because I always try to put the guest first but all he would say was "James something just isn't working, just not clicking with you and our guests. I'm sorry."

I have applied for unemployment because I have never had a write up for any misconduct. I had a write up with the other management company for being tardy one time, but it never happened again.

I was told when the new company bought the hotels that was erased from my record(was told this by the manager), but other than that i was never written up.

I am under a very strange suspicion my termination had more to do with the new company restructuring than my misconduct.

They hired another full time person a week before they fired me. When I asked how they would balance the full time hours between me and the new employee I was told "dont worry about it James it will work out".

I was the highest paid person there besides management even though I had worked there the shortest amount of time. They hired me at a high pay rate because of my experience and I was supposed to work Night Audit, but that never worked out. So, they kept my pay the same.

I worry that the reason they fired me was because they hired this other person dirt cheap and want me out of there due to conflicts with me and manager A.
PLEASE HELP WITH ANY ADVICE YOU CAN!!!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH
JAMES

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Jan 28, 2015
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What to do...........
by: Chris

Pretty sure I touched on some of those things including a link to where I keep a link to VA UI laws and decision digest. And of course, I don't want to overlook the first free option you have here which is to employ the search bar and other questions and answers that go over the same general concept and some of the drawbacks and advantages regarding customer complaints .. but maybe just bang on one aspect more heavily than others.

I never knew what might light a lightbulb.

Jan 28, 2015
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so now what?
by: james

first, thanks so much for the feed back. after reviewing my post along with your comments I can definitely see what you mean about leaving you cold and also like I was justifying my actions or being defensive. (and sorry for the poor grammar and punctuation :P )
so, so what do i do now? I haven't had my hearing yet(it's in February) how can I do better at telling the facts and not a "story" that will bore the deputy to death.
btw in VA they do everything over the phone. does this matter? I have seen in other posts how important the face to face meeting is.
thanks for any advice or help

Jan 28, 2015
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Your story was long because ...
by: Chris

You did not focus on an important objective of how unemployment works when someone is fired .. vs. quitting their job. And I'm not going to blow smoke .. your long story left me as cold as it would of had I read it in an appeal letter. (And yes, people write appeal letters all the time that only hurt their chances of getting benefits.)

A discharge means it is the employer who may be required to sustain the burden of proving these customer complaints rose to level high enough, to fulfill at least some portion of a definition of work related misconduct at an unemployment appeal hearing.

This holds true, even in Virginia, a state with a benefits recipiency rate well below the national average in 2014 .. or any year for that matter, despite the fact VA has an online precedent decision manual you could of researched first.

If it hadn't been the length and content of your story resembling the type of claimant appeal letter I used to read for clues and a valuable first impression to make my job easier to do, I might of answered you with only directions to the search bar (usually in the upper right of each page) and a suggestion to plug in "fired for customer complaints" to find answers already given about an employer burden to prove customer complaints that rise to a level considered misconduct.

The length of your story (which by the way took me a while to capitalize all those annoying i pronouns) gave me a lingering first impression about you that isn't objective, but intuitive as to what it might of been like to have you, as a subordinate employee.

And that's why an employee story about being fired for customer complaints .. a difficult burden for an employer to prove .. can be improved by what isn't told and by focusing on what an employer can use that may sustain their burden of customer complaints. Customer complaints are often, not investigated, nor documented properly. And expecting reliance on hearsay testimony from a "manager" to squeak by in place of the first hand witness .. the customer who complained and likely won't be called to testify by the employer.

Were you aware of the employer's rule about customer complaints, or rudeness?
Were you previously warned by the employer.
Did the employer make you aware further incidences of rudeness to customers could result in termination?


It was the length .. and some of the details you offered that made you sound, at least to me, as if you were offering justifications. You do not justify what you claim to not be guilty you rebut an employer contention of guilt .. with their own lack of proof.

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