Missouri – fired for violation of company policy and appealing using the laches defense
Saturday 11/06/10 I was served a summons to appear in court on a financial matter. After serving the summons, the deputy called the station to inform them the summons had been served. The dispatcher then informed the deputy a warrant had just been received for my arrest from Platte County Missouri for a drug possession charge so, he was going to have to arrest me.
Monday 11/08/10 my name appeared in the local newspaper stating the Henry County Sheriff had arrested me on a warrant from Platte County Missouri for a drug possession charge.
Tuesday 11/09/10 after I had gathered enough information, I called my supervisor and told her the reason I had to leave work early. I explained to her that I was being served a summons to appear in court on a financial matter and the deputy was informed that a warrant had just been received for my arrest from Platte County Missouri for a drug possession charge so, he arrested me.
At this time my supervisor told me about the 5 day policy. I told her I was not aware of any such policy and she said, âIâm glad you called me when you did because Human Resources is aware of the situation.
Wednesday 11/10/10 my supervisor called me at home stating, âHuman Resources needs to see you today; what time would be good for you?â I told her 11:00am. My supervisor then called me back about 5 minutes later stating Human Resources needs me to ask you some questions about your arrest in 2008. She said semantics make sure we got everything right.â Human Resources wants to know if you told your supervisor in 2008?â At 11:00am I was terminated for âfailing to report your arrest for a drug charge in 2008.â
I insisted that I had complied with company policy and informed my supervisor within the 5 day period. Human Resources replied stating, âcompany policy dictates you had 5 days to report your arrest in 2008 and you failed to do so. This is not about what happened on Saturday 11/06/10.â I replied, âI was not aware of this policy in 2008 and was only made aware of it 4 days ago by my supervisor.â Human Resources replied âas a company employee itâs your responsibility to know.â I responded saying, âIf this is not about what happened on Saturday I would still be employed. I didnât say anything to anybody because I thought the arrest was bogus. I was incarcerated less than 8 hrs and released on my own recognizance. I believed they didnât have enough evidence to make the charge stick. Itâs been 2 years and never once did I hear anymore about it until now. Every background check you have done on me in the last two years came back with no findings. I wasnât trying to hide anything. If I was, do you think I would have voluntarily told my supervisor about the arrest in 2008? Iâm innocent until proven guilty. Now I understand why my supervisor called me back asking me about my arrest. Itâs no secret she has been looking for a legitimate way to fire me. Sheâs tried everything else.
To make a long story short I filed for unemployment, the company contested it. During the phone hearing the deputy asked me if I knew about the company policy, I stated no. The deputy stated my employer said I signed a document stating I was aware of company policies in 2004. I told him I didnât remember doing that but when I was hired 08/16/04 I signed a lot of papers but this is 6 years later and I was not aware of the 5 day policy at the time of the incident until my supervisor brought it to my attention on 11/09/10 which was within the 5 day policy.
Determination: Claimant is disqualified from 11/10/10 because the claimant was discharged by the above employer on 11/10/10 for misconduct connected with work.
Reason: The claimant was discharged because he did not inform the employer of a drug-related arrest. The claimant was required to notify the employer of any arrests related to drugs.
Based on the information I have just provided what should be my strategy at the appeal be? Can the defense of laches be argued as relevant to this case?
Laches defense .. that’s fancy smancy lawyer stuff, but ..
So forgive me for bringing this down to the terms I am familiar with .. getting unemployment benefits.
That piece of paper you signed in 2004 is called an “acknowledgment” of receipt of the employer’s rules.
This is the piece of paper I sometimes begged for from an employer .. I was always amazed at how often they couldn’t produce it .. because it is very often the nail in the coffin when a termination hinges on a very specific policy required to show those element of the definition of misconduct such as knowing, willful, negligence, to show culpability .. and the claimant is claiming not being aware of the rule or policy as their primary defense.
In truth, I’m even more surprised by the fact that a claimant can never tell me or even read to me what the employer’s rule or policy says because they threw the employee handbook away right after they got the job.
Those are the rules, policies and even the grievance procedures that control the workplace you work in.
Of course, as you told me, you also have a supervisor you say is now not being honest about .. was it a conversation that complied with the policy .. regarding your arrest in 2008.
Personally, I think your credibility is shot.
But, that has nothing to do with the arrest without conviction point you make which would lead to the laches defense for the present situation.
The point is that the employer has a rule about notification known as the 5 day policy and are saying that recent events brought this all to light despite your contention that it all happened because of a summons for a non-criminal court appearance.
It was your recent arrest at work that brought the arrest in 2008 to their attention that let them know you had violated one of THEIR rules of employment.
I can’t help you figure out how you will prove that you did tell your supervisor about the arrest within 5 days, per policy, two years ago and that they did not act upon that information then.
I’m still trying to figure out why a supervisor you claim was looking for a legitimate reason for termination didn’t fully document a conversation you two had about you being arrested two years ago .. or is the dislike for you a recent development?