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general unemployment appeal question about quitting due to being bullied.

by Mary
(Las Vegas, NV)

I was being harassed and verbally attacked on several occasions by a co-worker who was known as an office bully. I complained to my manager who did nothing about it stating she is a contractor and not employed directly by the company. There was no other manager in the dept. at the time. One day this co-worker attacked me again and we ended up going to manager's office. My manager again did nothing about it. I was very upset, started crying and walked out of the office. I went to HR to report the incident, but realized it was Sunday and the HR was closed. This was towards the end of my shift and I just went home because I did not want to return to the office. As soon as I got home, I called HR and left a message. The next day, a representative called me and we scheduled a meeting the next day (I was scheduled to be off the next three days). During our meeting, I told her what was going on in the dept. and requested to meet with my manager to talk about the issue with the HR present. She told me she was sorry, but my manager already submitted my resignation paperwork. I asked how is that possible? I did not resign. She said because I walked out of the office, and she interpreted that as resignation. The HR rep said she will try and talk to my manager again to see if she would change her mind, but then called me the next day and said she refused.

After applying for unemployment, I was initially approved, but then denied stating I quit. I filed an appeal, and waiting for the hearing. What can I expect? The incident happened in Nevada, but the unemployment benefits are coming from Illinois since I just recently moved to Nevada.

Hi Mary,

Where to begin?

First, I do not consider your question "general".

What can I expect?

I don't know because the burden of proof is on your shoulders at this moment since you have been denied for voluntarily quitting without cause.

So to answer your question with some kind of value, I would want to know what you plan on doing in preparation to win your benefits back at this hearing.

I already know how the employer will probably argue this case .. that you did voluntarily quit by walking off the job before quitting
time and did not tell or ask a manager about leaving .. which is probably something that can be found in the employee handbook.

But I can also see potential for a good solid argument that you too can give which tries to shift the burden back to the employer that after repeated efforts on your part .. this employer failed to relieve you of having to accept continual and inappropriate verbal attacks from a co-worker and that your leaving early was an isolated emotional response that was actually what the employer has been pushing for all along.

What I don't know about this is whether you were truly being made a victim by the employer's refusal to help you in this situation .. or whether you are just one of those "hypersensitive" types. I don't mean this as an insult, but I mention it because unemployment uses the word to describe those with thin skins.

People that quit due to workplace bullies often do not do well at unemployment hearings because the quit is impulsive.

The reason being, those with the disposition to be victimized are chosen on some unconscious level by bullies .. and that disposition carries to many areas of life including the unemployment hearing, unless they have some sort of epiphany in the interim.

My suggestions for preparing for a hearing are well documented in nearly every question I've ever answered.

But, I still think most everyone, would fare better with a professional unemployment hearing rep.

When it comes to unresolved workplace conflicts the preparation for an appeal hearing and the "cross-examination of the employer witness part" of a hearing should not be done from an emotional perspective, but from an objective legal perspective.

There's a saying a hearing rep used to repeat to me all the time .. "When they're cryin' they're lyin'. I could write another mini book about why this is an unfair generalization, but it would just take me right back to why I think employees, of all people, need to be represented.

When your employer told you that they had no control over this individual because they were a contract employee .. they were not being truthful.

People have won lawsuits because an employer did not protect them from abuse by vendors let alone people they call "contract employees".

The employer has the responsibility of controlling the workplace and addressing legitimate issues brought to them by employees with reasonable responses.

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