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I couldn't make my sales per hour goal after being written up?

by Danielle
(Los Angeles, CA USA)

I worked for 4 years at a major department store selling makeup. After years of sales per hour goals not being an issue, I began getting written up for not making mine. I got 3 write ups, on the 3rd I was sent home to decide if I wanted to come back and make my sales per hour goal, or quit. I came back. I've tried desperately for the past months to make my goal, but due to my higher pay rate (which equals higher SPH goal) and low economy... I didn't make it and was let go with severance.
I applied for unemployment, and have an phone interview soon. I did everything I could to make my goal, but it was impossible. Can I get unemployment, or was this "misconduct" since I knew I would be fired if I didn't make these goals?

Hi Danielle,

I think as long as you focus on the reasons "beyond your control" that made making goals unrealistic, the state will find no misconduct. Being discharged for performance issues, which include not making sales goals.

I cannot stress enough that a denial of benefits for performance should always be appealed. This is true because for some reason states do deny people for this .. especially when the employer responds with information that it was a policy and their discipline procedures were followed, but when appealed by a claimant, they have great difficulty sustaining the burden that it was "misconduct".

This is because unless there is evidence of neglect or some other element which implies the failure to perform to standards was within your control, they
have a hard time proving the failure includes "intention".

You did the job to the best of your ability, but due to circumstances outside your control, ie., the economy (and we all know everyone is more tight fisted these days) you were unable to attain the goals set by the employer.

Additionally, if your quotas were increased due to an increase in base pay any past "good" performance review loses weight. Using satisfactory performance reviews is a strategy used to show an employee was "capable" of performing, but if this is answered with information that provides a reason (such as an increase in goals) it can shift the burden back.

It's great that you are preparing for the phone interview. Everyone should understand going in that they need to provide the reasons to the state that will allow a finding for benefits and that unless they were laid off .. employers contest.

Just want to mention also that the fact that they gave you the opportunity to quit or come back and make your goals .. was a tactic. If you had quit, they would have protested that you voluntarily quit because you had been warned and a quit in anticipation of discharge is disqualifying. Additionally, they gave you severance. If you had quit they would not have paid severance. Most employer do not give severance to people guilty of misconduct.

Severance is deductible income as far as unemployment benefits goes in California. If they paid a weeks severance for each year you were employed .. well that's cheaper than unemployment .. if you had found a job in the interim.

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