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Job Performance,Customer Service Rep, Work at Home, Indiana, Co. based in VA

I worked at home in Indiana, for a company based in VA. I'd been on the job exactly 9 months to the day. In the beginning we have a grace period, where we are allowed to slide so to speak for low average handle times on the phones, or for quality scores. So when I filled out the unemployment questions online, I did say that I had at some point, acceptable reviews. The scores given your time with the company are soley at the disgression of your supervisor, if you're meeting goals or not for that supervisors team.

After I'd been there 6 months I was put on a success plan, to raise my quality scores. In the email it outlined that I would get extra coachings with my boss as well as meetings with the QA lady.The duration of the plan was mid June to end of August. Our scores are based on 8 total reviewed calls per month. 4 by the QA lady and 4 evals by the supervisor during a weekly coaching.
I went into the success plan due to a low QA average, and raised it by nearly 10 percent by the end of July. I only got one meeting with the QA lady, on July 28th. (the plan already being two thirds over). Beginning of August I had raised my score again another 10 percent per meeting at end of July. During the month of August, my final month on this plan, it was as if my boss were avoiding me entirely. All of my coachings were conviently missed, never made up, and not scheduled with a substitute supervisor for make up. I had no idea what my scores were for August, as I had no weekly evals and no QA scores emailed to me. When I got a coaching at the end of August, while my boss was on vacation, I complained to that supervisor that I had no scores. She was unable to get to the scores and said she would send an email to the QA lady trying to obtain them. Nothing was sent. Though she did appologize on behalf of my boss - or rather did agree that this was unfortunate that he was lax in his job.
I could only assume that since I'd already gone up 20% in scores I'd still be on the rise.
The success plan goal was that I get 85% when the team average is somewhere in the low 70s. I ended up with a 71.6% and was allowed to keep my job into Sept. Where my boss implied that I was off the success plan.(though he said that if anyone looked at my scores he would be asked why I was allowed to remain) He issued me two written warnings during all of this time, not for quality scores but for forgetting a step in a script, and for missing certain parts of the greeting and closing of a call.
In the end, Sept 16th, during the coaching he said he would be recommending to his boss that we "part ways". On Saturday the 19th, last time I worked, he pulled me off the phone and served me with a termination notice email, which he did not require me to sign. He just instructed me to clock out and log out of the system. Before I did so, I went back into my email, copy and pasted my hours so I'd have record of my last two weeks time card, and I forwarded the termination notice to myself. Later when I opened them I found two things very odd. My hours for that Saturday morning were not showing. And the termination letter simply stating "per our conversation, employment is terminated immediately", there was a copy of my attendance sheet. I thought it was an odd thing to attach, if anything should have been attached it should have been a list of my QA scores and evals. It made me think he was perhaps somehow making it look like I skipped hours that morning.
In the exit interview/phone conversation, he said that I failed to make an improvement. To which I responded that yes I had made an improvement, and he said "well it wasn't enough".
Assuming I'm fired for the success plan that I thought I'd been removed from at the beginning of Sept. I applied for unemployment in Indiana (not sure if I should have applied in the state the company is based or my own state), where it is pending, with the things delaying payment being "job performance". That section of the unemployment page confused me and I hope I didn't fill out anything wrong. I was able to
put a paragraph into the box about the success plan and his missing coachings and not sending my scores.
Being immediately kicked out the the computer system, I have had a hard time locating phone numbers of anyone in HR where I could report this or request a copy of my evals. I have sent the ones to myself that I did have, and printed in cronological order would be my best proof (for now) that he failed me by not assisting me in my final month.
I felt like an expendable crew member, that he wanted to replace me (and others, who are getting the exact same treatment) with newer agents. And that he would have stopped at nothing to make sure I failed.
I now have a phone number for an HR department where you can leave an anonymous complaint about another co-worker or you can leave your contact details for them to contact you. I left my name and phone number, but I am unsure they'll return my call now that I have been wiped off their system.
I'm sure you understand that it is vital to me to get unemployment, as a single mom. I'm afraid they will appeal against me, which in my state is backed up for months (I have a boyfriend that has been waiting on his appeal hearing date since July and they have told him the system is backed up with people).
As I said earlier, I am afraid that by answering the question "had I ever had a good review" with "yes" I may have made a mistake. There was a lengthy set of questions that followed asking if things had changed in my job requirements, and yes, that changes all the time, particularly a seasonal promotion where we were expected to upsell the product and have a shorter call handle time. I should have also stated (on the form) that more was expected of me at the disgression of my boss, based on having been there a few more months.
I'm sure they probably have a department especially set aside to fight unemployment claims. After reading loads of scenarios on this website, and your answers I am a little more prepared than I was before I filed the claim. I did show a huge improvement, and I tried very hard in those 3 months. Hopefully it's not hopeless.


Hi,

No, it's not hopeless, but it's not a slam dunk either because of the employer documentation which appears reasonable.

I would say your strength would be on focusing on the lack of training sessions and the lack of assessments of your performance scores toward the end. That the improvement plan specified.

In other words you need to shift the burden back to the employer as being the reason you could not complete the goals.

Thereby rendering you unable to achieve the goals through no fault of your own.

This of course is done through your testimony and evidence and very often through your cross examination of the employer's witness through which you tell more of your story about it being there fault you couldn't achieve the goals.

The huge improvement can be detrimental to you though because it shows you were capable of improving .. just not in the time frame required by the employer.

But if approached correctly, it could add more relevance to an argument that if the employer had followed through with the coachings and training sessions, your numbers to let you know how you were doing. You might have attained your goals. Again, the employer's fault.

Now, let's talk about Indiana for a second. Some of the court decisions I've read recently make me wonder how impartial they are being or if they are "protecting their shambles of a fund" from being forced to borrow more $$ from the Fed. Gov't

So, if I were you, I'd do some searches for Indiana unemployment decisions + fired for poor performance.

I would direct you to a precedent manual, but I can't find one for Indiana. I'd direct you to a different state manual, but you may read something that is irrelevant to Indiana. Although it may be a great tool for understanding the basic concept of how decisions are arrived at.

It's within these "explanations" of how decisions are arrived at that we learn the elements that either help us get benefits or stop us.

If you happen to find a great research tool for Indiana unemployment decisions, be sure to let us all know where to find it.

I always include links to a state's explanation of how benefits are arrived at in my answers .. when I know where to find them.



Chris


Comments for Job Performance,Customer Service Rep, Work at Home, Indiana, Co. based in VA

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Oct 17, 2009
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coaching proof
by: Anonymous

No we did not sign anything in a coaching. We would get a coaching stat, which had the score numbers and several paragraphs of the things that were talked about. We'd also listen to a recorded call and the supervisor would go over it and score it as you watched online, then it would be emailed to you. (luckily I forwarded these emails home to myself before I was terminated). If printed in chronological order, there 3 missing for August. One that was sent was blank. It had stats for July on it and no paragraphs because the coaching did not occur.

I did write to the head of HR last night, requesting how her information was obtained, and pointing out that she obviously didn't look for the coaching stats or evals - as there aren't any.

Her original email to me (stating that I did indeed have coachings) ended with the statement "I realize this is a disappointment to you - best of luck in your endevors".
So, I am left to wonder if this "investigation" of hers was just follow up to my original complaint (made to the HR hotline just days after being fired) where I was hopeful that they'd find fault with my boss and hire me back.
Or is she doing all this investigating because she's aware I'd filed for unemployment.
Either way, now I can clearly see what I'm up against in an appeal hearing.

According to the paper I got in the mail, they have 10 days to appeal the states decision that I deserve the benefits. If after the 10 days, and they haven't appealed then is it safe to assume the moneys are mine?


The problem is when will you be made aware of an appeal.

Some states send acknowledgment of receipt of appeals, but other than that you would have to check the Indiana website to see if there is a way you can check the status of a claim .. and or any appeals.

Oct 16, 2009
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Chris
by: Unemployment is confusing

Unemployment is confusing. You might consider carefully wording a request asking her to provide the details of how she verified .. or ask her to forward any documents that did verify.

I say carefully word because you will have the ability to submit and/or subpoena documents for the hearing.

So, even your request, if worded correctly, and possibly her response might be useful to you.

Do you want to know what skill I think most non-attorneys and even some attorneys lack? Okay, I won't make you beg:)

It's the ability to ask leading questions. The purpose of a leading question .. is to tell your story, while limiting the person asked a question to a yes or no answer.

Of course, you should know the answer they should give and be able to refute if they are untruthful.

Documents can be used to prove someone is being evasive or less than truthful.

Tell me, did you have to sign .. even electronically when a coaching did in fact occur?

Oct 16, 2009
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update
by: Anonymous

A while after I wrote my last comment, not yet posted to this page, - I got an email from the head of HR. In this email she said that upon investigating with my former boss, that I did indeed have coachings every single Wed in Aug. This totally untrue. I do not know where this info came from unless she was looking at my schedule, which would probably still indicate that I was in coaching during those times. The schedule would not change in the event that a supervisor instructed me to take a learning course online during that time, or if call volume had me taking calls instead. The solid fact should remain that there were no coaching stats or evals written for those coachings because they never occurred. (unless the supervisor doctored up and wrote them after the fact, though calls could not be evaled after the fact because calls get deleted after a month, I am told). My first impulse was to write back to head of HR and tell her that her information is completely incorrect. And ask where this information was verified, proof of coaching stats or evals? ect. Though I have refrained from responding to her just for now, wanting to make sure I know exactly what to request.
I wondered if her investigation was merely a result of my complaint about my boss (as though I were trying to get my job back) or if her investigation is part of what she (or they) will use in an appeal against me for unemployment. (or both) This is so confusing!

Oct 16, 2009
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Quit talking to the HR Dept. and prepare for your unemployment hearing.
by: Chris - webmaster:)

Hi,

Should you not spend the money you've received? If that is a possibility .. and of course it's not for many, many unemployed people .. my own personal choice would be to hang onto it .. or at least spend as little as possible until after the hearing.

I state my opinion about HR on the page titled Employee Rights.

I'm sure I missed the mark, but the intent was to warn people about HR. Now, I know most of them are good people, but the very reason for these departments is to protect employers and keep them in compliance with the many laws governing "employment", however fundamentally inadequate those laws are for workers.

My cynical mind asks why would someone from HR argue with you. Gather information? Gauge your ability and focus of your argument?

The event of an employer appealing unemployment benefits is a much more common occurrence than a claimant appealing. Even nowadays, although I suspect that claimants are appealing denied unemployment benefits much more frequently.

Employers are successful. They are more practiced at unemployment hearings. The entire reason behind Unemployment-tips.com is to create awareness that unemployment benefits are a fight and that in most cases, for the unemployed worker to be successful in that fight you need to prepare "intelligently" based upon an understanding of how unemployment works.

It's not a "they tell their side, I tell my side" thing.

To win and unemployment hearing, you need to raise issues of facts that are favorable to you. You need to speculate about what the employer will bring forth to prove you don't deserve benefits and then you need to develop a counter argument to combat them.

The fact is that if you want or need unemployment benefits, leaving your fate to the state to make the right decision .. is our basic mistake.

I cringe to think how many people have been denied unemployment simply because they didn't raise the one issue of fact that could have made a difference. This is our responsibility .. not the states and a failure to raise relevant facts at a lower level appeal hearing which establishes the record that all other appeals are based on is where the employee fails.

I know, another long sermon in response to a very short question.

Oct 16, 2009
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possible appeal
by: Anonymous

After waiting on this case a month, filing my claims every week, it finally came up that I am to receive the payments. Got a letter today saying they have 10 days to appeal it.
I have been in contact with the HR dept at this company in recent days. I had called their hotline weeks ago to report my boss for his lack of effort in my success plan in the month of August. Co-workers and I agreed to do this because we truly believe he is not doing his job as a supervisor, and that we would have all been better off with a more competent one.
They returned my call a few days later saying they'd investigate the situation. Basically if they just looked at the missing evals for my month of August they could see he was lax in his job. No one got back with me about this investigation until a couple of days ago. The head of HR called not to tell me her findings but to argue with me on why I was fired. (I'm sure this is because they'd been made aware that I was filing for unemployment). In my exit interview, my boss merely sighted my quality scores on his success plan. But the info HR has, according to head of HR, is that I neglected to pull a script on a call. I told her that during this phone call in question, I did pull a script, but according to my boss (in review) it was the wrong script. She asked at what time during the call did I realize it was the wrong script... and I said, I wasn't aware of it until my boss informed me during the review of the call.
Because the letter of termination was very vague, and just said "per our discussion" employment is terminated immediately. It was difficult in my opinion to know which discussion he was referring to. The last conversation we had was about my failure to meet the success plan. The reviewed call was never mentioned as a reason for being fired. The call itself was not even scored badly, in quality %. I believe that any errors I made in that call were simply errors still made in good faith to do my job. I reviewed the email associated with that call, (which I did not receive until the weekend just before my termination, no time to look it over until after I'd been terminated) he notes that I should pull a script and follow all the steps. I had pulled one and followed it, but it was the wrong one... no where in that does it say I pulled the wrong one, therefore pitting his word against mine now.
Why or how can they suddenly change the reasoning for my being fired? (to cover themselves here)
How can I best prepare for an appeal in this situation? Should I not spend the money that I have been issued in fear that I will have to pay it back?

Sep 22, 2009
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Thanks
by: Anonymous

Thanks so much for your quick response!
I have been searching around for Indiana cases... not finding any concrete examples like mine, or anything that I can understand in laymans terms.
I did find a sight that is supposed to be about Indiana, (Labor Law Center Blog at http://blog.laborlawcenter.com/2005/03/09/indiana-unemployment-insurance/ ) Someone named Amelia who's answering the questions, made the comment: "The federal government guarantees state unemployment benefits, meaning you need not worry that the state will run out of money for this." but this was posted apparently in 2005. Times have changed and with our governor (and the changes that have come about since he's been in office) that's a huge laugh!
It's only been a few days since applying, so I will wait to see what happens with my application.
I'd like to request all my info and evals, whatever HR has on me with the company. I'd never expected to be fired as such, being booted off the system, it's not as easy to communicate with them without the email at hand and the instant messenger/chat room for HR. I'll try another route to obtain the info by phone.
Again thanks for your response and I'll post again when I find out more!


Just a quick note. The unemployment is guaranteed to those eligible, but when a state's fund hits a low trigger, the state is forced to borrow w/ interest from the feds. A whole lot of states are iinsolvent at the moment .. which simply means they didn't have a sufficient fund to weather the current economy.

A whole lot of states are having the problem because of there insufficient "wage base" (just my opinion) A wage base is the first x amount of dollars every employee makes which an employer is required to pay the UI tax on. It's usually a state's max WBA times 26.

This recession might actually make state's take a good hard look at those wage bases.

So much for quick notes.

If you know the dates and the types of documents you're after and you can't get a hold of them now .. you'll just have to use subpoenas to get them if they aren't present in the state file when appeal time rolls around.

Not that I'm saying it will be yours, just that if you don't have to .. the employer probably will.

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