I was fired for violating company policy, can I still win an appeal?

by Amanda
(Tennessee)

I got a new boss in November of last year. This was her first management position. From the time she started, she didn't like me.

In July, she gave me 3 write ups in one day. One was for putting time on a time sheet she says I didn't work. She wouldn't know if I did or not, I was the only one working. The second was for insubordination because we were having some issues in our parking lot and she told me not to address this with residents, and a week later we got several more complaints, so I asked the assistant what I should do, she said to send out a letter. So, I did. The manager had been out of the office 3 to 4 days a week working at another property, so she hadn't been taking care of issues going on that I was telling her about. The final write up , she accused me of calling up a soon to be resident and telling them that the manager had made a mistake and she had to move in by a certain date or she would forfiet her deposit and apartment. The day she said I called the property manager wasn't even at our property and I never called this lady.
This same lady moved in on a Sunday which was 6 days after I was written up. I was the only one working on that day. The next day (Monday) I was off and then
I came in on Tuesday morning to termination paperwork. My manager said that this women came in on Monday and told her I had confronted her about my write up. I never confronted her. The day this women moved in, she told me that she told my manager she had expected me to get written up, she asked me if I had been. I told her I did not want to discuss anything like that with her and that everything was done and over with and we should move on.
My manager never gave me an opportunity to tell her anything, for my write up or the termination. I did mark on my paperwork that I disagreed with both of them, and on my termination paperwork I did put that this women had brought it up to me and I told her I would not
talk about anything. My manager would not give me any of my paperwork the day she fired me. She told me she was advised not to. I was also, living at this place and she gave me 72 hours to move out. This was in my contract, but they are allowed to approve a longer time frame. She told me once I was out of my apartment I was not allowed ever back on property. I finally got to talk to HR a week later and wanted to talk about all the unfair actions that were taken against me, but they would not talk to me. The woman told me I would receive an exit interview in the mail and that was where I needed to express myself. They did send me a copy of my paperwork, but I never got an exit interview, so till this day, I haven't got to tell my side except for the few sentences I wrote on my write up and termination form.
I filed unemployment and it was denied for work related misconduct, so I filed an appeal. My phone hearing is October 26th. I subpeonaed forms from my previous employer, but unemployment office denied it. They said it was my previous employers job to prove I was in the wrong, not me. How is that fair? I'm not trying to prove I'm in the wrong!! They turned in all 3 of my write ups and a copy of the company policies that I signed when I started.
1. Do you think I have a chance of winning without any evidence on my behalf?
2. Should I put a stop to them using my other 2 write ups? They don't have to do with my termination.
3. Before this I had been with the company for 1 1/2 years with no writeups or verbals or complaints.

I am in Tennessee. Basically the way I see things is that it was all hearsay my word against this woman.


Hi Amanda,

Well, I think you have valid arguments to win the hearing, but I'm a little confused why they denied a subpoena for documents which you think could prove there was no misconduct.

Mention it at the hearing .. it may help you if you need to appeal the hearing decision.

What kind of documents did you try to get?

Comments for I was fired for violating company policy, can I still win an appeal?

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Oct 30, 2009
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Final Decision
by: Amanda

Yes, I am relieved!

Could you answer one more question for me? Of course, the company that let me goes has 15 days to appeal the hearing officer's decision and take this to the board of review. From what have been reading about, they are not allowed to submit anymore evidence to the case, correct? The board of review would just review the evidence already in play, and the tape from the hearing?

Thanks for all your help. This web site was a life saver for me.


Amanda,

That is correct .. no new evidence and the appeal to the board must be based on errors made based on the administrative rules of procedure.

In other words, somehow showing the ALJ made a mistake during the hearing or in making the decision based on those rules.

Oct 30, 2009
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Hearing Decision
by: Amanda

They changed their decision and ruled in favor of me, the claimant.

The hearing officer said in her conclusion that the fact I had sent letters out and had been told not to was insubordination, but as far as the woman that claimed I had approached her, well it was my word against hearsay. My previous employer failed to proved this was misconduct.

I will have to say I am a little confused as to how they even considered the other write up because on my termination paperwork, it clearly stated I was terminated because of approaching this woman, not because I sent letters out that I was told not to. Anyway, the assistant manager is the one who told me to send them out .


Hi,

It's because a series of write-ups although for different rule violations can be enough to disqualify you.

Most states are seriously interested in the final incident though, because if an employer's policy says three rule violations and you're terminated .. they better be able to prove the final write-up was for misconduct.

If your employer had provided this woman as a witness to testify with "direct knowledge" things might have turned out differently.

As far as testimony goes .. direct trumps hearsay .. every time .. if it doesn't and the decision is based on hearsay instead of the direct testimony .. you've got grounds for further appeal.

I'll bet you're relieved.

Chris


Oct 26, 2009
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Hearing
by: Amanda

I also asked the manager if she had any witness statements from the woman she says I confronted or statements from the the 2 people she said came in upset because they said I confronted them about parking. The manager told us for the record that she had no witeness statements.

I sent in a copy of the e-mails that went on between myself and the manager and I also sent in copies of 2 secret shops I had.

Any ideas about the final out come after reading everything that was asked today?


Nope. I wasn't there to hear how it went, and I never talked to you to judge how well you might do at hearing, but I've got my fingers crossed for you:)

Oct 26, 2009
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Telephone Hearing
by: Amanda


I had my hearing today. I didn't like it, I felt very rushed. The property manager is the one who spoke for the company. The hearing officer asked her why I was terminated, she said for breaking the standards of conduct on several occassions. The hearing officer asked her what the last situation was and she told her what was written on my termination paperwork, which was actually intimidating behavior towards a resident. The hearing officer asked her how she found out about it, she said the resident came in and told her how unfomforatable she was with the me. The hearing officer asked her if I agreed with this. She said she didn't but she did admit a conversation accured. The hearing officer asked why she thought it was me that told the resident about my write up and the manager said because she wouldn't have known otherwise. She also told the hearing officer I was given an opportunity to talk. The hearing officer asked me what happened and I told what I mentioned above. I told her I was never given the chance to talk I came in that morning and was handed my paperwork and told I was being fired. The hearing officer asked me if I confronted the resident and I said no.

The hearing officer then asked the manager about any other write ups. She mentioned the timesheet and parking issues. She told the hearing officer I signed and agreed to both of these write ups. I brought up the fact I did not think these 2 write ups were relevant because it clearly stated on my termination paperwork that i was being fired for confronting the resident not due to timesheets and parking lot issues. The hearing officer did ask her to explain the parking situation and the manager said she had told me no letters and then said I had approached 2 residents. I told the hearing officer I never approached the residents and there was no documentation stating I did. I did admit to making the letters but they never went out. I also made it known that the assistant manager told me to send letters when we were getting so many complaints. The manager asked me why I signed and agreed to the write ups if I didn't agree with them, I told her because I didn't know I had a choice not to sign them and I didn't disagree with the write up because she had told me not to send letters to those particular people. I was sending letters to particular buildings which I was told to do by the assistant. I also reminded her that I had been fired 7 days after my write ups and had been trying to get her to talk to me about these write ups but I was fired first. The hearing officer asked if I was aware of the the standards and conduct and the 3 written write up rule. The manager said I signed the I aknowledged them when I was hired which was 3/08. I made the point that that was almost a year and 1/2 ago, which means they were not consistantly enforced and I told her in the e-mails I gave her I was unclear.


Oct 26, 2009
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Appeal
by: Amanda



Maybe my responses on the write up and termination paper work assume me guilty and the hearing officer knows I'm going to lose.

The manager recorded on my write up it was Insubordination. She said she instructed me that we would hold an Apartment 4 days longer than originally agreed, and on 7/7/09 I called the future resident and told her that the manager was mistaken and I (supposedly) told her the the 15th was a firm move in date or she would be forced to forfiet her deposit and the apartment.

I responded by checking on the disagree box and commented that I had spoken with the future resident and told her she could not move in past the 15th but the you (manager) then talked to her and approved it. I talked to the future resident the next day when she called and told me the manager had approved it, I told her that was ok and she told me she still wasn't sure making this move was what she wanted and she would call back.

In my termination paperwork, the manager stated, that I confronted the future resident about the fact that I had been written up due to an incident involving her move in date.

I responded by checking the disagree box and wrote that I never approached the resident about a write up. She asked me about it I informed her I did not want to talk about it, everything was over with. She continued to go on and on. I just sat and listened.

In my documentation, I didn't express everything I wanted. I was actually in shock when she handed me 3 write ups in one day. I have never received a write up at any job. I get very emotional when I get mad and at the moment she gave them to me I was afraid I was going to say something I would regret and after I tried to talk to her and she wouldn't listen I just walked away. When she handed me my termination paperwork, it was kind of the same thing, she was very pushy like this is what I wrote I don't care about your side, sign it and give me your keys you have 72 hours to be out of your apartment.

Do you think my comments are ok? I will definitly add more explanation in the hearing tomorrow. In the 6 days between my write up and termination I had contacted the manager via e-mail at home and explained to her I didn't understand her reasoning and kept asking her to sit down and talk with me. She was working another property all the time and I had days off during the week due to working every weekend. She agreed we needed to sit down and talk, but told me to take my write ups as a learning experience and move on. She said this was a fresh start. I still told her we needed to talk because I wasn't clear of her expectaions of me. She was then gone for the next 3 days and the 4th day I was off. This was the day before she fired me she sent me a reply to my expectaion e-mail and wanted to meet with me that day. Well I never responded to her because I was off and she knew I wasn't in town. The next morning was when she fired me.


Did you submit your email communications?

Oct 25, 2009
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Subpeona's Denied
by: Amanda

I subpeonaed copies of timesheets to prove I was the only one working the day they said I confronted this woman. I thought that would prove the hear say. I also requested them to show I was off the day she came in to complain and then fired the following morning, I figured that would prove I had no opportunity to give my side of the story. I subpeonaed a copy of my 1 year evaluation showing that the manager that just fired me had written in January that I was wonderful with all the residents. I figured this would show positive acitvity on my part. I subpeonaed a copy of the entire resident file. I had printed her lease for the day she wanted about 2 weeks before she claimed I called her and said she couldn't move in on that date. Well, why would I have called her and to tell her she couldn't move in, when I already had her file ready to go?
Unemployment office told me it was there job to prove I was in the wrong, not me. I asked if this was going to be a problem for me and the woman said no.
This manager really did me wrong.



Hi,

I think it would be a good idea .. if this employer submits these write-ups to "state for the record" that you were denied your requests to subpoena documents to counter the employer's documents.

It's important to get it on the record if you end up with a decision that basically ignores your testimony and gives credibility to the employers.

This way you have better grounds for a board appeal citing an interference your rights to "due process".

Every state has statutes which let you know what the "administrative rules are. Denying you the ability to offer documentary evidence at a hearing which you believe would be relevant to the documentary evidence the employer submits .. I don't know .. what they meant .. We know it's the employer's job to sustain the burden of misconduct .. but for Godsake .. it's your appeal. What do they want you to do .. sit on your thumbs and act like a dummy with no idea that you have a responsibility to disprove the employer's contentions .. which by the way the state agreed with.

I have smoke coming out my ears right now.

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