Talking points for Adjudication Interview? Involuntarily Terminated (without cause)?

by Bubba G.
(Midwest US)

I recently was terminated by a company that I worked at for almost a year. I was hired by that company as the most senior level in their hierarchy (non-management) but they treated me as entry level.


Initially, I put up with that treatment for a few weeks but after being continually demeaned, demoralized, harassed and put down by an individual at a similar level who was clearly threatened by my expertise, I filed an internal discrimination and harassment claim against this individual with their corporate HR. HR basically ignored it and tried to force blame for the tenuous situation on me (btw, the threatened individual was my manager's "boy", so he was protecting him, which I told HR he would do).

Even at that early date, it was abundantly clear to many people that I was not a "good fit" for the organization -- a poor hiring choice, as I was so very, very overqualified. They clearly did not have the proper level of work for me. But I needed the income and the job for the time being. So I "manned up" and took what they dished out, coming in every day with a smile and saying, "I am happy to do what ever you require and do the very best I can." And that's the truth; I did exemplary work, even though the tasks they assigned me were over-simplified and that another individual continued to put down my work and dismiss it as not good enough.

Almost 6 months passed and the company did a re-org and someone similar to me in seniority was placed in my group. Once again, that original individual felt threatened and similarly attacked the new person. I was aghast. After the company tried to brainwash me in the past into thinking that the prior situation was my fault, here it was happening again to another person. I mean clear, distinct harassment and bullying, by that same individual. I called attention to it to my manager, and he simply hand waved it away, again (protecting his "boy"), telling me, "if I didn't like it here I should just leave." I couldn't believe it! So, again, I filed another formal complaint with HR against the attacker. I told them that they were ignoring a serious personnel problem in the organization and now the attacker had claimed another victim. I told them I felt compelled to file a claim with the EEOC.

The next day, they called me and gave me a choice of resigning or being involuntarily terminated. They said I was clearly "not a fit with the organization." I chose termination so that I would be eligible for UI. I asked them several times for a termination letter, but they refused to
provide one. They said, "we don't do that, sorry."

At this point, I've opened up a UI Claim and will file my first week this week. They said I will be scheduled for an Adjudication Interview.

Based on my situation, what strategy and talking points do I need to make with the Interview in order to pass with flying colors?

Chris's Answer



Hi Bubba G. in the Midwest,


Not sure what state unemployment benefits you need talking points in.. for an initial adjudication interview, but it seems to me what you described is what I would call being offered a choice to quit in lieu of being fired. (good search bar query.. by the way to get to some relevant answers about getting fired.

Which is precisely where I'm moving your question.

Problem is, you didn't address any details I think would be central to an interview to adjudicate a discharge for misconduct.

Whether a person quits by submitting a resignation letter stating the facts for documentary purpose that it was actually a choice between quitting, or being terminated, for unemployment law purposes, it should be adjudicated to an employer's burden to have some proof it was all over the issue of work related misconduct.

You regaled me with all the typical stuff that sounds more relevant to why lots of folks tell me they voluntarily quit with good cause, but in the end, may not have actual proof of that good cause.

So my first and only talking point to you is .. Knock that sort of thinking about burdens off. You're position is to rebut misconduct for yourself, not prove your employer's "boy" was an Igor to your manager, or that HR turned a blind eye to this abhorrent, but common behavior in workplaces everywhere. This is for the EEOC's administrative law process, not an unemployment department.

Unless you can prove bullyism rises to illegal harassment, or allowed (ignoring can be argued to be condoning) retaliatory behavior, it may only serve to make you sound like you are whining, or worse, trying to deflect blame for a termination that possibly doesn't even approach a level required to prove misconduct and therefore wasn't your fault.

Instead you might want to go for talking points that actually have the ability to rebut why the employer has not met the burden of proving misconduct .. at the time they terminated you.

Here's the widely accepted definition of what misconduct reads like.

However, if you insist the talking points keep going to what sounds like you think you had good cause to quit, then suffice it to say, you could drive me nuts ..

If you want me to refine what might be more specific talking points, that's the point of individualized coaching.

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