KY- Employer says I vouluntarliy quit, I did not! Now an appeal...
I wanted to see if you could offer any information for my unemployment appeal hearing coming up soon.
I took the job earlier this year to spend more time with my family and work close to home. When I was originally offered the position it was with the understanding that the hours they could offer would be based on business needs. However they could offer me full-time right away, but to be aware that my hours would be less in the "non-busy" time. This was perfect for me as I was leaving my job, which required me to travel and work 60+ hours a week. I was willing to take less money and be close to home with my family and FLEXIBILITY. During the interview I asked what the hours were that I would be working, and I was told by the HR director it was very flexible as long as you meet your schedule. I also stressed that the flexibility was important since I had a small child and my husband travels. I was assured that flexibility was there.
Not long after I was hired, I found out I was pregnant. I waited until I was 12 weeks along to tell my HR manager. When I told her she advised me not to tell my boss until after the "busy" time as she would be aggravated to find out that I would need time off for my pregnancy. I did as she said and waited to tell my boss, and as expected she was not happy. She asked me how much time I planned to take off when I had the baby. I assured her that I would only take the minimum of six weeks and I would be back to work.
Many times I had to leave work early, or take a day off for medical reasons since I had a high risk pregnancy. My employers always worked with me and allowed me to make up my time (nights & weekends) or use vacation time so I could maintain my full-time status. Many times I also offered assistance to "fill-in" when they were under staffed on weekends, nights and big events.
My son decided to come 3 weeks early, making his grand arrival on 9/2/12. My water actually broke on my way home from working on a Saturday 9/1/12 to "fill-in".
Now onto my actual issue:
My son was born with a birth defect and required more medical attention than most new-borns. I took my 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave as I was granted, and planned to return back to work at the end of my leave on 10/15/12.
I sent my employer the following e-mail:
Hello and good afternoon! I hope you both are doing well since I’ve been gone. First of all I want to thank you for the wonderful diaper cake that I received from Turfway Park. What a great gift to get and we are currently using the diapers that it was made of!
I am planning on returning to work Monday, October 15th after being off work for 6 weeks. Easton was born on 9/2 coming three weeks before his due date. He weighed a healthy 6.3lbs, however he was born with a congenital defect, club feet. Both of his little feet are turned in. We actually have known that he would have this since my 20 weeks ultrasound; however we did not know the severity of the feet until he was born. The doctors have told us that his feet are moderate to severe but they are confident that treatment will correct them fully.
The treatment that they use to correct his feet is called the Ponseti Method. He will go through a series of casting, long leg cast from his hip to toes for 6-8 weeks. These casts are changed weekly to slowly manipulate his little feet back into the correct position. Before the last casting he will have a small incision made in the back of his heel to release the tendon, and he will be re-casted and wear that final cast for 3weeks. After the casting is complete he will then be fitted for special shoes with a brace/bar in-between that will hold his foot in the correct position to avoid them relapsing and turning back in. He will wear the brace/bar for 23 hours a day for 3 months and then just during naps and bed time until he is 3-4 years old. Easton is currently in his second cast and is doing great! This procedure to correct his feet is a very long process and demanding. However we must stick with it if he is going to have straight feet and a normal quality of life.
The reason I am writing you both and explaining this all to you is because
obviously this process is going to require me to have some time away from work. I have the casting appointments already scheduled out. He sees the same doctor each time so I don’t get much flexibility in scheduling. They basically give me the date, time and location to have him there and I must make it work. The following are the appointments that I know of so far:
10-17 1:35 @ Fairfield location
10-26 10:15 @ Kentucky location
10-31 1:20 Fairfield location
11-6 (well check) 9:00 Cincinnati location
11-8 1:00 Kentucky location
For these casting appointments I will need to take off the entire day as they require me soaking off the old cast before the appointment, and he is pretty uncomfortable afterwards until he gets use to the new cast. I’m not certain what other appointments he will need after these and how frequent they will be. Once he gets into the brace/bar I’m pretty sure that the appointments are less frequent and not so involved. However until then I’m just taking this process one week at a time.
Obviously I want to do everything I can for my Son and getting him “fixed”, so I’m hoping that you all will be able to work with me and my schedule. I’ve been thinking the best thing for me to do at this time is to cut my work schedule to a 4 day a week schedule, around 30 hours per week. With my ‘off day’ being whatever day his appointment is on. I can let you know in advance what day it will be each week. Also until I get a routine down and some consistency I wanted to see if I could have a schedule of 9:30a-5:30p. If I can work more I certainly will because I need all the hours I can get. I just don’t want to be penalized for not meeting my ‘full-time’ requirement or being early/late. Basically for the next few months I am going to need flexibility and I’m hoping we can all work together to achieve this.
Please let me know if this new schedule and flexibility these next few months will be feasible. I’m truly sorry for this inconvenience but I will do everything on my end to make sure my work is not affected and be as flexible as I can. I’m looking forward to returning back to work on Monday. Feel free to contact me back via e-mail or we can even chat over the phone if it’s easier.
My employer then called me and told me that since I did not qualify for FMLA that they could not accommodate my schedule request. I explained to her that I could not afford to not work and that I would be willing to make up any hours that I need off for my sons medical, on weekends or nights just like I had in the past. However, that was not sufficient she told me that my boss wanted someone there every day when she was also there. I was basically given an ultimatum between my job and my son. You can guess which one I picked, my son. The HR director explained to me that she was sorry and felt bad she even sent me two other jobs that I would be qualified for. We discussed how I would have to file for unemployment and she said she understood and would not fight it as she did not want to cause and further hardships on me.
So I filed for UI benefits and low and behold, they denied it saying I voluntarily quit. I never quit! And I don't see where they think I would be in a position to quit having two small children, and one with disabilities. I had every intention of returning to work. My child care provider has also provided a statement for evidence to show that I had retained her services and even asked her to work nights and weekends if needed so I could get all my hours in each week.
I have appealed the decision and have a hearing in two weeks. Any information you can offer would be more than GREATLY appreciated!
I have a question .. did they tell the state you voluntarily quit because other suitable work was offered to you? Or, just that you quit when you failed to return from a medical leave of absence?
If you're not sure what the employer told the state and since you need to appeal, I'll tell you what I tell anyone faceing the first appeal hearing.
Get the state file. Request it because it doesn't make sense to go to a hearing without knowing precisely how and with what the employer responded to the state with.
PS .. just reply with a comment.