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Operation Manager, fired for misconduct and denied unemployment

by Anonymous
(California)

My husband was fired for misconduct. He left an employer after 16 years to take on the opportunity of a start-up warehouse operation in CA. He was fired for misconduct in under 60 days. Now his unemployment benefits have been denied. Here is my account of what happened:


Monday - somebody from headquarters flew down unannounced and said they were there to help prepare for shipments coming in the following week.

Tuesday - two more employees show up from headquarters and fire my husband.

They presented pictures of him looking at the security camera and asked him why he was looking at it. He couldn't answer.

They presented pictures of 2 employees, that were not certified yet 'to work' on the lifts and asked him why. His defense, to train them so that when they can go for certification, they can hit the ground running. The floor supervisor came to my husband and asked him what he thought of training the only two employees they had on the lift during their 'down time'. He thought it was a good idea and thought it made sense to use this down time in a productive manner. He was tasked with getting this warehouse up & running, and the employer cut back his employees. He was supposed to have up to 30 employees by this time. He had one supervisor and 2 employees & work was slow, so he understood. It was suppose to pick up and they would be extremely busy in the weeks to come. He never signed any thing, nor was he advised that training employees on the forklift was a bad idea or violated any rules. They were not doing work. They were lifting empty pallets. By the way... the supervisor was the only one not fired.

He was presented with a picture of him coming out of his office with his hand behind his back & asked why. He didn't know why??? Later he told me that he may have been repositioning his undergarments, if you know what I mean, but who knows???

He was then told that they sent down the employee on Monday to go through his things to see if she could find anything. She found souvenir type liquor in his drawer, she took pictures of that, and that was the last thing he was presented with. This stuff had been with him at his last employer, and he didn't even think of it as a problem when he unpacked his boxes from the last employer when moving in to his office. This was
his fault. There were souvenir type beer cans (unopened) from 2001 superbowl, a shot bottle of tequilla from Mexico, and a minature can of beer. This was all unopened, dusty, and obviously souvenirs. Telling him to take them home would have sufficed - but they obviously had more in mind to fly down 3 people unannounced.

Instead - he was handed a check, told to pack up his things, and leave. This check was made out the day before in another state, so it is obvious that this was planned.

My husband is dumbfounded, does not like talking about it, and now is stuck with reliving everything over & over again with the unemployment situation. It has taken a toll on his emotional state!

My husband clearly thinks that the operation can run without him, because he did all the ground work, and their economic situation turned them to desperate measures.

I wonder if this was planned all along. Since this has happened, I've heard of employers hiring someone to start up an operation in a new state, and once up and running, fire the operations manager as they can now run the op without that expense.

In interviewing a supervisor for the position, his boss made a comment to him that she wanted somebody "strong" so that they can run the place when he is not there - could this have been a "Fraudian Slip," a foreshadow of what was to come?

Please help - do we have any recourse?

Also, can he obtain what was submitted about him to the unemployment office? Unemployment told him that they submitted a 28 page document about him (we suspect mostly pictures).


Hi Anonymous,

What did the employer say they fired your husband for? Was it a safety violation? If it was, the pictures aren't making a lot of sense to me. Nor does all the searching of drawers and questions about why he was looking at a security camera and why was his hand behind his back???

What exactly does the determination state is the reason for denial of unemployment benefits?

What state do you live in?

It's very hard to say anything without knowing what those 28 pages of documents are and what the employer has said.

If you'd care to fill us in on the missing details, it would help. To disprove misconduct, which is what your husband will now have to do since he was denied unemployment, you need to know what the employer has said. The determination should tell you in a nutshell what this is.

Chris

Comments for Operation Manager, fired for misconduct and denied unemployment

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Oct 04, 2010
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FORMER EMPLOYER TELLS LIES.......
by: Anonymous

I JUST WENT THROUGH THE WHOLE APPEAL PROCESS, ONLY TO REALIZE THAT "EVERYONE" DOES NOT TELL THE TRUTH..........MY FORMER EMPLOYER TOLD SO MANY LIES THAT I THOUGHT I WOULD FALL OUT OF MY CHAIR. HE WAS ACTUALLY "CAUGHT" IN SOME OF THE LIES BY THE PERSON HEADING THE APPEAL. THIS HAS BEEN AN UNREAL EXPERIENCE FOR ME. I THOUGHT THAT ONCE YOU WERE "UNDER" OATH, THERE WAS A PENALTY FOR NOT TELLING THE TRUTH.........EViDENTLY NOT.......




Feb 20, 2010
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Subpoena documents from employer.
by: Anonymous

How do you go about getting documents form an ex-employer through subpoena?


Hi Anonymous,

The how-tos are included with the instructions you receive with your hearing notice.

The CUIAB FAQ's might also be of help to you.

By the way, you might also want to watch the video of what an unemployment hearing is like.

In addition, I think CA may have a law that allows an employee to view their personnel records.

Nov 24, 2008
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Fired for Safety Rule Violation.
by: Anonymous

Hi,

The 28 pages of documents should come with the hearing notice, if not call the California appeal office listed on the Notice of Hearing and tell them what you want.

California still primarily conducts their hearings in person....I'd request to be allowed to participate by phone. As for the documents he is requesting from the employer...don't fool around "requesting" them...subpoena them.

I'm also suggesting your husband contact an attorney. If the amount of benefits at stake is California's max of 450 a week x 26 or anywhere near that, hiring an attorney for a few hours work is not something you shouldn't give any thought to. 450 x 26 is not just a drop in the bucket.

An attorney, unlike myself, can converse with your husband and may be able to see things from a different perspective...especially when he sees the employer's documents. And a California employment attorney will have much greater knowledge of not only the unemployment laws, but California's labor laws. And if it's a hopeless case, they may be able to tell you that at a "free consultation" if you can find one who will do that.

Chris

Nov 24, 2008
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Clarification
by: Anonymous

Thanks again for your comments, which have left my husband a little more hopeful than previously.

I want to clarify a few things.

He did sign for a "employee handbook" and was given some type of safety policy. He does not have either of those to refer to. He does remember reading the safety policy, wanted to see if and how OK law/policies were different than CA. He did not sign anything regarding forklift training.

He has requested his employee record, employee handbook, and safety policy, as well as the '28 page document' submitted to the State of CA from the employer. He requested that on Friday, of course, he hasn't heard back from the employer. I have advised him to send a second on the second business day, and third request on the third business day (if needed). He is sending these requests via email so there is a paper trail. Do they have to respond to him?

He is planning to appeal the determination and request the '28 pages' submitted to them (state of CA) at that time. His actions were not "willful" nor were they intended to "injure" the employer. In fact, his actions did not "injure" the employer in any way. He was merely trying to use the time and limited resources he had to put the employer in the best position possible for the busy weeks ahead.

Any more thoughts, comments, suggestions. We welcome your feedback!

Nov 19, 2008
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Fired for Safety Rule Violation.
by: Anonymous

He was fired for misconduct and was denied unemployment according to California Unemployment Code Section 1256. It states "Because you broke a reasonable employer rule regarding Safety."

We live and work in California. He worked in California for the employer. The employer is based in Oklahoma.

Let me know if any more details are needed. Thanks so much for your comments!


Hi Anonymous,

I'm suggesting appealing the determination for the following reason:

You said, your husband never signed anything. If the employer did not have him sign a policy acknowledgment and if he did not receive the safety policy, the employer will have a hard time sustaining their burden of proof.

Generally, a person needs to be aware of a policy or rule to be guilty of "willfully" breaking the rule, the signed acknowledgment of receipt of policy and rules, ie., the handbook, is a common way for an employer to prove the employee should have known better.

My hesitation lies with the fact the employer has submitted 28 pages of documents and you are only guessing at what they are.

File the appeal, and request the state's file. If the file does not have a signed acknowledgment he should be good to go if he focuses his appeal on the fact that he did not receive the policies and rules and if he broke one it was unintentional. Additionally, it would be a good idea to make sure the employer has followed their own progressive discipline policy. Unless the rule violation carries with it terminology allowing for immediate dismissal, it's a weak point for them.

If the state file does have an acknowledgment, signed by your husband, it is unlikely he will be able to get the determination reversed.

The quit shouldn't hurt him because he quit for a better job. Read the California eligibility guide to be sure. There's a link to it on
this page.



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