How can I win an unemployment hearing if I was fired for poor performance?
by J Williams
A few days ago I had an in person
Unemployment Appeals Hearing with agents of my former employer.
I was fired for poor performance on the job and then i was denied benefits because the original decision was that i was able to perform my job upon hire and in the past so the ability for me to perform was within my control so I cannot be paid benefits.
I appealed the initial determination because there was a significant change in my job as of late in which I was not trained after repeatedly asking for assistant and not receiving help when i asked for it. So i was fired over a change in the job and I didn't receive training for the change.
The only thing my former employer did was show the hearing officer the progressive disciplinary action which was given after the job had changed for which I did not receive the necessary training I needed and asked for.
The good thing about this case is I have a former employee testifying on my behalf about the situation and she has first hand knowledge. However, the HR Coordinator that was there at the hearing has no first hand knowledge over the change in my job and that I was not trained.
The hearing officer picked up on that and started
asking questions of me and the HR Coordinator about the situation and that's when she got nervous.
Now i was a bit nervous myself because I have never been through this kinda thing before, I'm just a 23 year old kid going up against this huge corporate company and there hot shot attorney.
I guess the HR Coordinator thought she would go to the hearing submit her paper work and bully me with the company's attorney on the phone. Who was disruptive and rude during the entire proceeding. The hearing officer was annoyed with what was going on as my former employers attorney managed to piss off the hearing officer.
Because of the numerous disruptions by the company's attorney you know objecting to this and that and having to be over ruled on several occasions by the hearing officer we ran out of time. I suspect the HR coordinator and the company's attorney did that on purpose so they will have more time to go over their story, but that still does not matter since me and my witness are the only ones participating in the hearing with first hand knowledge.
So now the hearing has been moved to a latter date that has not yet been named.
After the hearing the HR Coordinator stormed out of the room in a bad mood.
The Hearing Officer told me to not be nervous or intimidated by the HR coordinator or the company's attorney. She told me to just stay calm and state my case to the best of my ability because she is an attorney as well and she knew what they were trying to pull and she did not like what was going on. She was talking to me on a real level as a person she will be the hearing officer when the case is rescheduled.
I know my former employer will have to show I intentionally neglected my job responsibilities. All they have are write ups, but nothing to show where they took steps
to make sure I received the training I asked for to help correct the situation I was fired over.
Does anybody have any pointers for me when the hearing is rescheduled?
Response to:How can I win an unemployment hearing if I was fired for poor performance?
Yes, I do have some things to say, but I think you're right on target.
Believe me, I'm certain the HR person nor the rep was ready for you .. because normally, they can rely upon the claimant's ignorance of the intricacies of a well formed argument .. (which you've got).
I think you have a firm grasp on the central issue of your unemployment appeal.
Poor performance cases are actually, difficult for an employer to sustain their burden that the discharge was for misconduct when it is shown that there was a recent change in the employment, as in your case, when the employer failed to sufficiently train you for the change in duties.
The element an employer must prove for discharging for a performance issues is exactly what you stated, and all about an attitude of "neglect".
The employer's agent could of been a non-attorney hearing rep
working for the cost control company your employer uses. Georgia does not require a licensed attorney for hearings, not even when you the claimant pay a fee for representation.
Your hearing has been "continued" and just a word of caution to anyone else reading, unless it is you that would benefit from a continuance .. I would place an objection to a continuance if need be.
Why? Because the employer is now in a position to add the necessary witness with first hand testimony to combat your story. (I would never of advised an employer to attend a hearing without the first hand witness).
So be on your guard and start thinking about this from the employer's perspective and what they might do to remedy the mistake made at part one of the hearing.
Consider who might show up at the next hearing and what they may give testimony to. Prepare for this .. even if it means locating documents that could rebut the possibility of first hand testimony.
Be sure your first hand witness is again available if they are needed to give rebuttal testimony for the new first hand testimony.
The hearing officer gave you good advice when she told you to stay calm. Calmness enables you to think more strategically. Jot down notes during testimony if you feel any information has been given that you think may be necessary to provide additional testimony about.
I have a friend who is in the biz of representing employers at hearings. His mantra is "if they're cryin' they're lyin'"
Emotion is a distraction and after all that often times causes us to do and say irrational things.
When you self represent at an unemployment hearing, you are acting as your own counsel
so stay calm .. to stay in control.
I don't know about all of you, but if I had an attorney who started crying and getting emotional I'd fire them because there job is to use their expertise to look out for my best interest.
I can tell J, this likely isn't your problem and I appreciate your story and question because I rarely get questions from such an informed perspective.