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How do I defend myself from an entire family?

by Megan
(Texas Unemployment Appeal Hearing)

I was recently fired from my job at a coffee shop/deli. The owner, when she fired me, gave me no reason for it other than, "Just like in any relationship, sometimes you just need to break up." I filed for unemployment, was approved for benefits, and was shortly thereafter notified that an appeal was granted my employer. We already had the first part of the hearing, where the employer presented five witnesses all testifying against me that I was a liar, a cheat, a thief, lazy, and insubordinate. The owner and all the supervisors are family (husband and siblings). There is no one left to defend me.. She has no physical evidence, only "witness" testimony. How do I defend myself?

Hi Megan,

Let's try to reorient you to your position. Don't play defense .. play offense.

I'm only answering from the perspective of someone that knows what's important, but doesn't really have the skill to effectively cross examine witnesses .. which requires a bit of thinking on your feet.

You were fired. The burden of proof belongs to the employer. The only good cause to fire someone is work related misconduct.

And the TWC or any unemployment department .. would prefer documents to prove facts over testimony alone.

However, the idea of you needing to prove they are lying just to discredit their testimony bears some thinking about .. how to do that exactly.

This is precisely why I do not advise acting as your own representation at an unemployment hearing.

It's effective representation that is the skill.

You have to somehow use the concept of nepotism to call their testimony into question. You have to focus on what most unemployment decision reference.

A final incident.
Previous Warnings.
Written employer rules and policies.

The first thing I would want to know from you is how long you worked for this employer .. since you were such a bad employee.

Seems unreasonable to me that any employer would let someone guilty of all they say you're guilty of to continue working for them.

Additionally, you need to ask them about their rules and policies .. are there rules? Do they typically write people up?

What was the final incident that made them want to break up?

Can they provide proof of the misconduct .. or are we just to believe that a group of blood might be ganging up and presenting hearsay testimony.

You need a rep.

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