Iâve worked for Wal-Mart for almost 2 years, quickly moving up in my department. I worked in the bakery and started as a bread packager and ended with being the bakery supervisor. I always did my share of work plus more. When the last supervisor left he asked me personally to apply for the position. After getting the job the manager that was over me left on a leave of absence, giving me about 3 days of training. I did everything that was asked of me, even though I was very short staffed. I was handling the work load of 3 people; I was leaving later and later sometimes working 12 hour shifts then getting warnings for working so late. When I cut back on staying late (but still working my scheduled shifts) I was getting talked to for not completing the work. After a month my manager came back and was terminated, and was replaced by a man that talks to people as if they were infants. He was always telling people that they were a nuisance and that we just got in the way. At wal-mart they have an âopen door policyâ where you are supposed to be able to go to any manager in a confidential manner and tell them anything with out being âtold onâ. A week before I quit my manager pulled me and a guy that I was having a problem with in a room and told the guy everything I said and pretty much told me that I needed to grow some teeth and stop being a whiner. He then asked me to step down and asked me to become a cake decorator; I gladly accepted telling him I couldnât handle the stress of the position. He then told me if I didnât step down there would be corrective action taken against me to terminate me (this was said after I had already agreed to step down). He had told me that he didnât want me in the position because my previous manager hired me and they needed to âweed outâ the people she hired. He has put unrealistic goals on me while talking down and bad mouthing me. The day before I quit he had me in tears at work. I have lost sleep and have become physically ill over the whole situation. I honestly couldnât take it anymore; it was taking a toll on me and my family. I have never been talked to or treated the way that man did. I know of at least 3 people that can be witnesses for me, but they are worried about losing their jobs if they do. Iâm not sure what I need from the witnesses, if anything. Is there anyway that they can do this anonymously so they donât have any actions taken against them. Can I even file for unemployment? Not sure what to do thanks for your time.
Unemployment departments do not determine whether there was a “hostile work environment” with the same standards the EEOC would determine a hostile work environment due to some sort of discriminatory behavior by an employer.
Rather unemployment determines whether the working conditions would be intolerable to a similarly “reasonable person” such as yourself.
And they are always very interested in the “final incident” that moved an individual to quit their job.
It’s true that a termination can come as a surprise and you might not have been able or even given the opportunity to act with foresight, but when one voluntarily quits a job .. it is assumed that a “reasonable person” would make efforts to “preserve the job” unless the final incident was so egregious as to overcome this standard of law .. which is really up to the discretion and personal judgment of whatever person is in control of making a determination or decision on your UI benefits.
When I use the words “counter document” I’m talking about making an issue of a workplace reality through the grievance channels most employers outline in the employee handbook.
A sad fact about at will employment is that most states think a reasonable person should stay in a job right up to the point of termination .. even if you know in your heart the employer’s warnings and write-ups or other disciplines are intended to end your employment one way or the other.
This is why a voluntary quit in “anticipation” of discharge is nearly always disqualifying.
Finding Co-workers Willing To Testify
There is no other subject that confirms as much, the fact that American employees feel bullied, threatened and intimidated about keeping their jobs for doing what is morally, the correct thing to do.
They cannot help you if they remain anonymous.
They have to be a witness at a hearing or at least sign a statement and they must be identified as a witness to be of any use to you.
This is a daily recurring theme for me when I’m talking to someone during one of my “unemployment hearing coaching sessions.
I always ask:
Since you do not have any documentation to prove you made efforts through the company grievance policy .. do you have a former co-worker that would be willing to testify on your behalf to these conditions you are telling me about?
They almost always answer:
Well, I don’t think so. They would be to afraid the employer would fire them ..
Or, they simply are not willing to ask for for fear of putting someone’s job in jeopardy.
Ironically, testifying for a former co-worker and then later being retaliated against for testifying creates the possibility for legitimacy of claims of retaliation should the employer start harassing them or disciplining them for bogus reasons with the intent of ending their employment.
Until “employees” get a backbone and start standing up for each other in this country, bullying and intimidation will continue to run rampant and unchecked.
So, in the final analysis Lisa, I know hostile and intolerable workplaces are commonplace, but I also know they will continue to exist until the ordinary everyday American worker .. Says ENOUGH.
The problem is that it takes COURAGE to stand up for what is right .. and an attitude of job and unemployment benefits be damned.
You are one of those I know without a doubt, would be better served by having professional hearing representation .. because whether it’s you or the employer .. there will most likely be, an unemployment appeal hearing.
Which will be by phone in Nebraska and an attorney is not required.
Whatever happens Lisa, I wish you the best and although being unemployed is a financial struggle, I commend you for having the courage to say ENOUGH. I just wish those still employed would do the same.
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