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Fired for "Willful misconduct" in Pennsylvania -

by Shelly
(Harrisburg, PA)

On 1/20, I was called into my boss's office and subsequently fired. The reason I was given was inappropriately sharing "sensitive" information I saw on his calendar. A calendar that requires him to give permissions for others to see. There are probably at least 8 people who have access to his calendar on a daily basis.

#1: The item was not marked private and did not state it was confidential in nature.
#2: The person I mentioned the item to also had viewing permission of the boss's calendar.
#3: The person I mentioned the item to, then apparently shared the information with someone else, who then went to the boss.
#4: I had no reason to believe it was "sensitive" since numerous people had access to the same information.
#5: I have been employed for almost 6 years, with great annual reviews.

I was fired, and both of them still have their jobs, even the one who passed the information further. Should not the same rule have applied to her? Can you win an unemployment appeal with the concept that a "rule" was not uniformly enforced based on this?

The organization has not been doing well financially, so much so, that the board is monitoring budget performance. If the budget was not being adhered to, a consultant (who is paid monthly) would be let go. This consultant is also a long-time friend of the boss.

I applied for unemployment and was denied for "willful" misconduct. First, I mentioned to the person so she was aware of his whereabouts, as she needs this information to perform her job. I did not think I did anything wrong, as this was a common practice in the office.

I feel I
was discharged to reduce the financial burden on the budget. I think I was just the first person to piss him off. I also feel that this "concept" was used so the employer could contest unemployment benefits, as they are "self-insured."

Did he do anything wrong by having apparently confidential items on his calendar that others had access to?

What are my chances at an Unemployment Appeal?

Hi Shelly,

I think you chances of being able to get the initial determination reversed are excellent for these reasons:

1. Your numbered laundry list reads like a sharply focused appeal letter which bites back:)

2. Uniformity of rule enforcement is a big deal to unemployment hearing referees. In addition, rules need to be reasonable. I think the employer will have a tough time sustaining because the person you gave the "sensitive" information to could also access the calendar and was in fact the person who forwarded the information onto someone else.

Reimburser's fight everything.

Testimony alone can sometimes work, but I think you need either some documentation like statements from others or corroborative testimony to add weight to your arguments.

I also think you should file an EEOC complaint This page does a better job of addressing the situation as to why I think so.

But before you run off to the unemployment hearing without talking to a lawyer first...I strongly believe you need to check if Pennsylvania employs the collateral estoppel doctrine which if so could prevent you from pursuing things any further if you lose the unemployment hearing.

I'm moving your submission to appeal questions because I think it's more relevant there.

You did read the Disclaimer? :)

I'd love to know how it goes for you!!

Good luck!

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