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Fired for tardiness, I didn't sign the last write up. An example of the importance of Counter documenting.

by Joseph Peterson
(Palm Coast, Florida )

I was working for a Concrete Pumping company, There business was slowing down and they started what they called on call days. I would sit and wait for them to call and they would have me come in. A couple of times they said they couldn't reach me, but I was home and had my phone.

They tried to make me sign a paper for tardiness and I would not. I did have 2 priors for being late by 5 minutes. On the last one I was not late and they had me turn in my uniforms to receive my paycheck. But I would not sign there final warning notice. They were slowly getting rid of everyone, because they were closing our location. They closed about a month after they said they fired me. They only kept a couple of the employees for there location in another city.

Business for the location I worked at was pretty much none. When they let me go the one boss said to me " you don't need this job anyway".

I now have been looking for work for over a year and finally filed for unemployment, Which the company is saying they shouldn't have to pay me. What can I do? Do I have a right to unemployment? Please help. I have small children and my wife is the only one working.

Hi Joseph,

First, you're lucky you filed when you did, otherwise because you have been out of work for a year you probably just squeaked in with enough qualifying wages in your base period to be monetarily eligible.

Secondly, it was a mistake to not sign the write-up. I always suggest a proactive approach to write-ups by "counter
documenting". You should have signed and stated your reasons for disagreement with it. Do you wonder what good this would have done?

Your argument now .. which is that the last incident was without merit because you weren't late .. would have a whole lot more weight because that write-up could be introduced into evidence to support your contention now.

As it stands now, you will probably need to appeal to a hearing and hope that through your testimony alone you can convince the Hearing officer of the fact that the employer completed their progressive discipline policy with a trumped up reason. If you had documented on the write-up relevant information, there would be evidence to support your argument.

It wouldn't of needed to be to elaborate, but imagine if that piece of paper had a statement from you .. something along the lines of:

This write-up is based upon an non-existent occurrence of tardiness. I believe the employer is attempting to reduce their workforce due to the hard economy through dishonest use of their progressive discipline policy.

When there is not enough room, use a separate piece of paper, dated and signed by you and ask the employer to sign also or just state I have asked the employer to attach this to the termination notice in my personnel file. Oh, and always make a copy .. in case the employer "loses it".

Then you have something concrete to testify to and something for the hearing officer to make a credibility decision on.

Employers always have their eye on the end result when employment ends. Employees need to also. It's also good practice to follow the procedures to get a copy of your personnel file periodically.

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