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My former employer is appealing my granted Unemployment Benefits arguing I quit for personal reasons

by Ana
(Colorado Unemployment)

My former employer is appealing my granted unemployment benefits, arguing I quit for personal reasons


In Denver, CO I started working for this company in July 2010 as a subcontractor for a month an a half.

Then they hired me as a full time employee to be the Executive Assistant to the CEO.

After a couple of weeks I learned that a lady subcontractor was hired as well to do the CEO's job.

They never told her that I was not there to work for her and they never told me I was there to give her my support. My boss expressed orders were: "Do not work for anybody else but me, I am the one who gives the orders."

At the same time the CEO hired an under-qualified girl to be the subcontractor's assistant.

When the work load rose, this girl couldn't perform according to this lady's requirements so she started asking me to leave my duties and help her out in a very rude and mean manner.

My answer to her was that I needed my boss' authorization to set aside my job to help with hers.

From that moment on, she started bullying me on a daily basis. By the end of October I read that in order to stop the bullying, I needed an advocate within the same company.

Things were really bad and the environment at the work place was extremely violent, aggressive and abusive towards me and the girl assistant when nobody else was around. except the girl and me (very clever).

Obviously my stress levels were very high and I started being extremely anxious. I went with my boss' partner to ask her to be my advocate because she expressed to me that she didn't like the lady subcontractor because she was a "Diva" and too dramatic and complicated.

A month later, my boss and his partner decided to subcontract an HR person who, by coincidence (?) is the Diva's friend.

They requested his help to see how to improve the environment since we were only 3 people working for them.

I met with this guy and he asked me what would be a solution to the problem, and my answer was: Confrontation.

I also mentioned him that I have a different culture and where I come from doing business is quite different. After that statement he answered me: "If I was the one who interviewed you for this position and listening to what you just said, I wouldn't have hired you in the first place." I pretended I didn't care and kept on going to work.

We moved to another office where there were 70 more people and "conveniently" the bullying stopped. I sat in another area and I was really happy because my boss expressed to me how happy he was with my performance.

On the second week of December, I got the chance to talk to the Diva on a one to one conversation and we agreed that both have our tough moments and I even offered an apology if I did something wrong to her. She apologized herself too.

Everything was working nice. During our weekly staff meetings my boss kept on saying: "Everything we talk here, stays here". And I didn't care much that those words were directed to me because I felt I wasn't talking to anyone about what was going on with our group.

My performance review on December 23 came out better than I expected. On January 3, I received a call from the subcontracted HR asking me to meet with him later in the afternoon. I met with him on a one on one meeting in a conference room where to my surprise, he told me that he received 2 anonymous calls on December 24 saying that I was
the one disclosing all the confidential information of the company to one of its clients.

He was very tough, pushy and inquisitive asking me to whom I talked to and what were the things I revealed. There was a point that I couldn't keep my emotions and started crying when I told him that PROBABLY the best way to finish with those accusations was giving my 2 week notice.

Immediately he said, you need to go with your boss and tell him that. I came to my boss telling him that I couldn't stand that situation any longer that I was being accused of things that I didn't do and that I was thinking of giving them my 2 week notice.

He grabbed me and asked me to calm down and took me to have a "coffee". Then I told him that if it wasn't for that job I would be in another city near my children.

He asked me to call him later that evening after he speaks with his partner and the HR to see if there was something he could do to fix the issue.

I called him back that night and he told me: "We decided to let you go." They didn't allow me to go back to work. I filed for Unemployment and my case was admitted. I am entitled to the benefits. Now, after 2 months, I received a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Appeal Hearing where my former employer is arguing that although they discharged me because I disclosed confidential information, I quit for "personal reasons" and that "the job was causing me a lot of stress." Of course they couldn't provide sufficient objective evidence.

My hearing is a day after tomorrow. It will be on a conference call since the Unemployment offices are under construction. Shall I bring a lawyer with me?

I have a witness that works for the client where she can testify that I didn't disclosed anything to her nor anybody.





Okay .. I'll address the only things I can addres with regard to the appeal hearing.

The only thing that really matter is the final incident.

Your employer discharged you during a phone call after you had gone to him about the HR person interrogating you over an "anonymous" phone call he received saying you were the one disclosing confidential information to a client?? or was it a competitor of sorts?

This is what they have to prove .. because it's doubtful they can prove you quit .. they can only say you quit .. right? No resignation letter.

You had just received a good performance review and they can only try to put words in your mouth.

But do I think you need a hearing rep?

Yes .. because you are cluttering your case up with stuff that is truly irrelevant to the final incident which resulted in a discharge.

Can they prove the misconduct? Will they actually produce the "anonymous caller" as a witness? I doubt it .. since that could likely just be a fabrication of the HR guy to rattle your cage.

But since your hearing is day after tomorrow .. I suggest you request a postponement to seek a hearing representative. Colorado will allow your request .. they'll just want you to call back and tell them what some good dates and time are for the next hearing.

So .. unless you want to represent yourself .. go to the page where I provide a referral form for an unemployment hearing rep.

There will be a box to describe your situation .. in your case .. I would suggest you just copy and paste the web address of this page as you explanation with a short note that says I suggested this.

Whatever you decide Ana, I wish you well.

Chris

Comments for My former employer is appealing my granted Unemployment Benefits arguing I quit for personal reasons

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Aug 30, 2014
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dumb managers
by: Anonymous

it was the first time and 8 times in a row screamed at me and never seen it done to anyone else in the whole time I worked there. Go Home Go Home now." I want to let you know what is currently happening in the case they reversed the decision and employer won but, I am appealing it what do you think my chances are.




Now, you're talking about an appeal to a board of review, and as unfortunate as this might be for you, I'm also attempting to turn over a new leaf and be as blunt as possible, so folks will stop misinterpreting what I tell them as meaning they will/can win.

My basic opinion of anyone's chances for winning a board type unemployment appeal, hasn't changed.

I'm all about cautioning you to prepare based on worthy merits so you can improve your odds of winning the first and usually, the only appeal "hearing" you're going to get this time around.

Yes, winning may mean for many unemployed people hiring a professional to win it for you.

My reasoning is simple and without regard for any current lack of funds, because board appeals are a different animal altogether. (Written briefs with arguments as to why you are disagreeing with the decision of a first level appeal hearing officer.)


Let's see, what argument might an unemployed person have against actually paying someone for winning a hearing they will probably lose, when they don't qualify for free legal and they do have merits that could win a hearing for them?

Oh yes, no funds because you're unemployed.

Well, maybe someone didn't even try to qualify for free legal unemployment assistance.

But in the end, my point, either way, is about what's at stake if you lose.

Monetarily there is the potential loss of up to 26 times your weekly benefits if you were denied with the initial determination.

If you were granted benefits and received them right up to the hearing and the date the decision was issued we would now be talking about an overpayment of x number of weeks the state will expect you to repay.over the course of the duration of your claim, or the overpayment you will be required to repay.

A second hearing after a board appeal is less likely than winning the first hearing unless you get yourself up to speed on what happens at the first hearings because this system wasn't designed to give second chances .. unless you now know what to look for what might of gone wrong at the first hearing in the rules of procedure and evidence for administrative law hearings.

I feel bad for you that your boss screamed at you eight times to go home, but for some reason, you're here asking a question again that I've answered a thousand times when I say board appeals are not second chance appeals and expect what from me .. I don't know.

Want me to gaze into my crystal ball, or do you want to intelligently discuss your case for the potential of winning an appeal.

Chris

Aug 22, 2014
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dumb managers
by: Anonymous

my employer told me to go home 8 times and the last 2 go home now isn't that firing me. I am receiving unemployment for two months and they are just now appealing it I have court today do you think I will win.




What are they basing their appeal on .. a voluntary quit for reasons unknown to the employer?

Sorry, you didn't give me anywhere near enough information to make a call about winning.

It still amazes me that as many times as I've reiterated the devil is in the details and that it's preparation to those details that improve the odds of winning .. that no one believes me.

Why don't you let me know when you receive the hearing decision .. and if you do come back to tell me your results .. it would be really helpful if you copy and pasted the hearing decision.

My concern .. after a boss tells someone to go home eight times, I want to know if you mean on eight separate occasions, or if they screamed it at you eight times in succession on the day you went home.

If it's the first, a pattern has been established and it might be argued you KNEW your manager wasn't serious .. a bad manager yes, but nonetheless, you might of known they were also, not serious about you going home.

Look for your own weakness to identify what might be used against you.

Mar 30, 2011
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my answer
by: Ana

Indeed I mentioned about that last call during the hearing and this HR guy never referred to it.







Mar 28, 2011
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Answer to your question
by: Ana

The one who attended at the hearing as the employer's witness was the HR subcontractor. The employer himself didn't participate at all.
Thanks!



Then the employer did not provide the direct witness to the "phone call" which ended your employment, which I assume you did testify about .. correct?

Mar 25, 2011
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Decision of appeal
by: Ana

I received the final decision and the unemployment deputy granted me full award when he noticed that I was forced to say I would quit.
It seems that my former employer's strategy didn't work the way they planned it.
What were your speculations?
Thanks!



Ana,

This is what you told me.

"There was a point that I couldn't keep my emotions and started crying when I told him that PROBABLY the best way to finish with those accusations was giving my 2 week notice."


Apparently, the employer tried to hinge their whole case on this, but chose to ignore the rest of what happened and the fact that it would come out at the hearing.

Did the employer attend the hearing?

I'm glad you won.

Mar 12, 2011
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Thank you!
by: Ana

Thank you so much for giving me your points of view.
I also have some speculations on the motivations these people had.
The underqualified girl never lost her job. By coincidence she's my former boss' step daughter to be! :)
I'll keep you posted on the hearing outcome.
Now, I don't know if I should keep this employment in my resume or not.
I'm willing to move on as soon as possible and get a new job.
Thanks again!

Mar 11, 2011
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What happened during the hearing
by: Ana

Thanks for your response.

Regarding your first question, the answer is: Yes, they say I disclosed confidential information to a client who by coincidence, is their most important client.

I didn't provide a resignation letter because:
1. my boss told me he will try to "see what I can do, so call me later tonight", and
2.I was advised by a lawyer that I am not obligated to give them one. That the fact is that I was terminated.

Yesterday during the hearing, the one who participated was the HR person who insisted in several ocasions that I disclosed information not to one, but to many people at the client's company!!

I never received a warning notice or nothing previous to the meeting on Dec. 23.

He tried to bring up issues of why I was discharged all the time.

I stated in several ocasions during the conference call, that I was forced to say that I was thinking in giving them my 2 week notice after being falsely accused. That I wasn?t able to defend myself. I was on my own with the HR person in that conference room. The stress was caused by the way he treated me and those false accusations and not because of the job. At that time, there were no personal reasons to quit as they say.

I denied all acussations.

The only thing I want is to have a good reputation so I can get a nice job with people who will really appreciate my work and myself.

I was wondering if there is a public website with a "BAD COMPANIES TO WORK AT" list?

Thanks again!!




Hi Ana,

You'll have to let me know what the decision comes back with ..

I have a suspicious mind .. and I'm already speculating about the hidden motivations of the diva and the hr guy.

Yes, there is a number of websites that will let you rate a boss or a company.

eBossWatchh

rateyourjob-rateyourboss.com

jobitorial.com

I think it's important to know what the culture of any workplace is before you even send a resume .. and how else can a person know .. unless employees "anonymously share their experience.

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