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I was Fired for Unprofessional Behavior

by Anonymous

I was fired on July 26, 2016 for unprofessional behavior I was told. District manager retaliated after I reached out to HR about major issues brought up to my attention as a store manager. Right after I reached out to HR, the District Manager came into my store and fired me.

What should I tell unemployment tomorrow when I have my initial interview? I have worked for this company for 6 years and never had any problems with any of my upper management until this new DM took over our district, decided to fire all existing staff in order to bring her own managers she worked with at prior company. Please guide me on what to do or say in order to collect my unemployment. Thank you.

Chris's Answer


You should tell them what you just told me S. (removed your unique name and city in NJ for your own good). For an employer to have a good case of misconduct, it's always advisable they also have prior written warnings leading up to the final incident causing discharge.

This new DM may have had prior experiences doing this to others, to know that sometimes just the suggestion of unprofessional behavior works. Especially when a claimant approaches the interview certain it's they who must convince the interviewer they are not guilty.

But that's the opposite of how the misconduct burden should be approached, because it's the employer who must prove unprofessional behavior actually occurred.

Making a complaint to HR before you were fired about major issues (don't know if they related to this new DM) is a good thing for you, because it suggests the discharge may of been in retaliation for you going to HR.

It's the counter move intended to raise questions for the adjudicator who should then go back to the employer .. to get some much needed clarification. Do you have proof of the complaint being sent to
HR? Can you discuss with the adjudicator the major issues? I hope they do call into question the new DM's motivation for firing you shortly after.

People get wonked out before initial adjudication interviews and that's why they make mistakes, even when their story sounds so reasoned and sensible and seems, even to me, to be sticking to the only relevant points available, about why the discharge should be found to be for something other than misconduct.

For me, if your story is complete and unedited of details that would otherwise matter to my thoughts, what was unprofessional behavior was that of the new DM.

The assertion is likely unsupported by previous employer documentation about your behavior .. but there are managers out there who also make people want to quit their job .. or throw themselves at their mercy, who come across as very credible witnesses .. so if you can prove you made that complaint to HR just prior to the discharge and it was a concern about the DM .. then all the better. Ask the adjudicator where they want you to send the proof.

But, do not forget for a second, who has to prove what S. And that you are merely rebutting, or if it helps to get my point across .. reporting the facts about your separation, as you experienced that. Try not to cry, sound angry, don't insult the DM as if you were on a playground, or embellish what should only be direct answers to direct questions.

Listen carefully to what the interviewer asks you .. and answer with an economy of words (something I personally suck at as you can tell) and most of all let the truth shine clearly .. not your feelings.

I think you'll be fine S., but if it doesn't go well, let me know.


PS I moved your question from the testimonial page to the "I got fired" questions.

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Commenting on: how does it work if my employer appeals
by: Chris -

I'm not sure I completely understand where in the process this question is coming from. So, what I'll do is explain what I think, from only the details I've assumed. This way, if you need to .. you can tell me where I assumed incorrectly. (By the way, I altered the title for you comment, since it didn't really have much to do with unprofessional behavior and would be more appropriate as a question that should be added to the unemployment appeal Q&As.

1. In WA, when I get a Determination notice and decision is " misconduct has not been established" and deadline for both Employer and claimant is on 9/29/2016.

Answer: Clearly an initial determination stating misconduct has NOT been established would not be appealed by a claimant that agrees with the assessment based upon the available information, but by the aggrieved employer who can also request a lower level tribunal appeal hearing, you would also be notified of, so you can maintain your right to benefits by rebutting misconduct (unprofessional behavior) was the cause of termination.

2.In case, I don't do any appeal to ESD (the answer above should explain why you wouldn't want to appeal) and if my employer appeals(answer above also explain why they would want to appeal) and wins, could I appeal if they win, to reverse a hearing decision?

Answer: Yes you could appeal, but now your appeal would go to have to go to the ESD's unemployment insurance board of review.

3. I can appeal late as informed on notice but I must tell the good reason. What should I do now?

Answer: I have no idea why you are raising a timeliness of appeal issue, for what should logically be an employers appeal due 9/29/16 .. and their concern at this point.

But, for anyone reading this and wondering how to appeal any initial determination, or hearing decision late (when the deadline for appeal is missed, then yes, you really do need to provide the department with some good cause reason for the late appeal.

My advice .. if your employer does appeal .. whether late, or timely the obvious fact you should now be receiving benefits .. make sure you attend it ready to rebut why your behavior didn't rise to the egregious level of behavior that can fit within a widely accepted definition of misconduct .. and more precisely with some of those words quite fitting to describe how unprofessional behavior rises to a level to meet the burden of proving misconduct.

In case you don't care to click links to deepen your understanding of where I'm coming from to caution you what you must prepare to rebut in the event of a Washington State Unemployment Phone Hearing .. then here's the definition I'm referring to Boynton Cab Company v. Neubeck (1941), 237 Wis. 249, 296 NW 636

"The term 'misconduct' as used in (the disqualification provision) is limited to conduct evincing such willful or wanton disregard of an employer's interest as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee, or in carelessness or negligence of such degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employee's duties and obligations to his employer. On the other hand, mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances or good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed 'misconduct' within the meaning of the statute."

You're welcome .. for the response.

how does it work if my employer appeals
by: A

In WA, when I get a Determination notice and decision is " misconduct has not been established" and deadline for both Employer and claimant is on 9/29/2016.

In case, I don't do any appeal to ESD and if my employer appeals with win . Could I appeal after their win reversed decision?

I can appeal late as informed on notice but I must tell the good reason. What should I do now?
Thank you for your response.

Let's hope the NJDOL sticks to that 48 hour deadline
by: Chris -

S. Sorry to say it is typical for employers to miss an adjudicator's phone call on purpose, especially in states where there is no horrific consequences for doing so, like the loss of appeal rights, or an issue just as bad on a hearing notice meant to question why complete separation wasn't submitted before the initial determination was made and then not being allowed into the record of the tribunal hearing .. because good cause couldn't be established.

When there are no consequences for not returning the call, or responding to notice of claim filed, the end result is usually benefits allowed (barring any self-disqualifying info someone thought they should provide for all those reasons they do.)

However, without those consequences, appeals to quits and discharges where benefits are allowed .. now become S.O.P.

It's just how CCC's TPA, roll to control the rising cost of a UI tax experience rating for individual employers.

Other than my warning to stay on your toes for an employer appeal .. no response at the end of the 48 hour deadline is a good thing for you being allowed initially to receive benefits, and all because the burden is definitely the employer to prove misconduct .. not yours:)

Sorry that I can't say the same thing about those people you said this DM forced into quitting.


Fired for unprofessional behavior
by: Anonymous

Just had my interview today and the employer failed to answer the call. Unemployment agent told me that he gave employer 48 hours to call back.

Fired for unprofessional behavior
by: Anonymous

Chris, thank you so much for your advice. I do have written proof that I reached out to HR regarding the DMs unethical behavior. And I have 13 other people that are standing by my side and are willing to speak up against this DM because they also got fired or harassed into quitting by this DM. Thanks again and I'll keep you posted on what's going to happen after my interview.

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