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Lost my first appeal, do I stand a chance at winning a second?

by Rachelle
(Colorado)

I filed for unemployment after being with a company for 1 1/2 years and was denied. The letter sent to me stated: "You did not meet the established job performance standards. You were made aware of the employers expectations and did not comply. It is determined you are responsible for the separation and a disqualification is being imposed"


I worked in a call center and received over 50 calls a day. We are cussed at, hear racist remarks, sexist remarks, we are yelled at, etc. During our trainings, to handle that call we were told on several occasions to "deal with it. You are paid to be professional not the customer and we can replace an employee, not a customer." We were told that if a customer got out of hand or we felt we could just not handle the call anymore, we could transfer the customer to our manager. Within my first 12 months of employment, I had 5 managers! 3 of them were fired, 1 due to making very discriminatory comments to me. However, 4 of these managers would immediately take the call, no problem, if they felt there was something more that I could do, they would tell me at a later time. However my 5th manager would simply tell us something else to say to the customer and send us right back on the phone causing the customer to grow even more irate. Company policy indicates that as soon as a customer asks for a manager you are to transfer that customer to your manager. If that customer wants to go higher than your manager is transfer the customer to an area manager, its called their "chain of command." My manager however NEVER followed this policy. I place my customer on hold, explain to her in full detail the escalated situation and she would just send me back to the customer, then the customer would send me back to her...sometimes she would take the call after that, many times she would send me back again. By that time, the customer was even more irate than I could ever handle. I only had this manager for about a month and her process was so new, so confusing, and so wrong that I didn't know what to do. We had a policy and she herself didn't follow it. However I was meeting my quality scores, I received numerous excellent customer service awards and personal customer commendations. I have worked in customer service my whole life and was never questioned on how I handled any customer situation, until this day. The customer was extremely irate and would not even let me get a word in. 5 minutes into the call I told the customer that I could not assist her if she would not even allow me to speak. She said she didn't want to deal with me anyway and to send her to someone else. I was going to send her to my manager but 3 times that day alone she sent me right back to the phone. When she sent me back I dealt with cursing customers and I could not do it a 4th time. I therefore told the customer I would transfer her to another customer service rep. She said ok and I transferred her after ensuring she was connected to the queue. I appealed it, got a hearing and my manager indicated that this was "abuse" toward the customer because she had to hold longer to speak to someone else. No difference in my manager having me place the customer on hold just to go right back to her. My manager was not even prepared, changed her story twice and was incredibly rude
to me during the hearing, both her and the woman representing her. I lost my appeal. Do I stand a chance at all in winning the second appeal? I fully indicated to the hearing officer my reason for transferring the customer to a rep rather than my manager was because I felt it was the only way to continue assisting the customer because so many times my manager failed to do this on her own. I knew exactly what would happen-the customer indicates she no longer wants to talk to me, I place her on hold, tell my manager what happened, my manager tells me something else to tell the customer, I go back to the customer and tell her what my manager said, the customer yells and possibly curses at me and demands my manager again, I go back to my manager and at that point she may take the call or send me back a second time. Instead I chose to transfer the customer to someone else as she requested, someone perfectly capable of handling her situation. My manager and I reviewed the customer account after the transfer and the rep I transferred her to completed the call without an escalation and without any notation of the customer being upset that I transferred her. Also I want to throw in that my manager misled me, after the call (she gave me no chance to explain why I transferred the customer) she indicated that I could be written up, verbal warning or immediate termination, that this decision was not up to her but to HR. She said she seen people who did much worse only get a verbal however she also seen people who did less and got terminated, that it was all up to the HR rep who receives it. She said I stood a chance of just a verbal because I did not yell, use profanity, or hang up on the customer. I was still very nervous and confided in her that I had never been fired before, not even close, and I wouldn't know what to do in that type of situation. She told me, word for word, "I can tell you one thing, I never heard of "company name" fighting unemployment for anyone. They don't want to dish the money out for it. At least you have that to rely on." But during the hearing she indicated that it was her decision to let me go and she went up the ladder to get the approval. And at the beginning of the call when asked to describe her reasons for my termination she indicated that it was 6 calls that I transferred a customer. First of all I never did that 6 times, and 2nd that is not why I was terminated, I was terminated off one call. The hearing officer threw that out completely however I thought I would have a chance as she changed her story this way several times like that throughout the hearing.




Rachelle,

I don't know. You can try to justify to me all day long why you believe the hearing is erroneous, but still, an appeal to the board of review must be based on some procedural error made by the hearing officer.

Even now, I have no idea what besides testimony from you was offered to combat the termination was for misconduct .. except with a recounting of your justification with breaking with "procedure" for dealing with irate customers.

If she changed her story and the hearing officer ever used a work like "credible" or "persuasive" in the decision .. try appealing on that basis, but my advice about board appeals hasn't changed.

Get a lawyer to do it.

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