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