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tardiness, but more of just an excuse to lay me off without having to pay UI

Im going to keep the story as short as possible, but hopefully you can give me some advice on how to fight this. My name is Steve and I live in Utah.


I work as an IT tech for a large bank, we basically operate as a call center. When I was first hired we had a pretty relaxed boss that focused on just making sure everyone got the job done. He was very flexible on tardiness, and himself and essentially every worker came in to work 15-30 mins late every day.

We got a new boss a couple months ago and hes been itchin for an excuse to clear people off the books to drive down numbers. We have all been overworked and underappreciated since he got here.

I had been working there for almost two years. Because of the bad economy recently, my parents have worked extra hours and I have taken the responsibility of picking up my little sister from school. This caused me to be tardy once in awhile, but I had spoken about this with my supervisor, and he agreed to push my shift back. Even though my shift was pushed back though I still had the occasional tardiness, but I never skipped out on work and had fantastic reviews and was recognized very often for doing an outstanding job and going above and beyond what was asked of me.

I thought everything was good, I had not been written up ever in my time there for anything, until about a month ago. I was suddenly written up for "excessive tardiness" (keep in mind that I was only about 15 minutes late, and that was a very common theme for the people working there. I worked a night swing shift and it was always very relaxed for the night shift people, but even the daytime people ALL came in late and nobody ever got written up for it). I was told that I had to call in if I was late and if I was late 2 more times in the next 90 days I
would be terminated.

I was late 3 times in the next 2 weeks, but I called in every time (My little sister was doing the school play so she had to stay a little extra for rehearsal and that made it so I had to cut it close). I was called into my bosses office and told that we were going to "part ways", that they needed someone "more reliable". I felt that it came out of nowhere because our department had always run with a kind of relaxed attitude and all of a sudden I get picked out and canned.

During the firing they also mentioned how that earlier that week during one of my tardies (I work saturdays for extra hours because i am a student and couldnt really work as much during the week), I woke up late, called in, and hurried to work. When I got there I noticed that there was a system outage and that it was a bit of an emergency. I quickly got to work and forgot to clock in. After my shift I emailed one of my supervisors and told them I forgot to clock in, but I must have misstyped or not remembered correctly because I gave them a time that is an hour before I actually got there. This was an honest mistake and I have never had a history of trying to forge time clocks or whatever. They mentioned this as the "final straw" in firing me. His exact words were "after we saw that, we said enough was enough".

I applied for UI benefits and was approved and now they are fighting it. Do I have a case? or am I SOL. I am sorry if I have not provided enough information, so just let me know if you need any more. I really appreciate your site and I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

Steve



Steve,

Can you tell me the reasoning the state gave you on your determination for allowing benefits .. I'd also like to know what the official company policy is for tardiness.

Comments for tardiness, but more of just an excuse to lay me off without having to pay UI

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Same Here
by: Mike

This same situation (almost exactly, except my employer used an "incident" on a specific day that I was unaware was even an issue until I was fired over two weeks later. they said that they waited in order to get "Executive approval/signature" due to the company CEO being out of the country. Apparently I am guilty of not calling in until two hours after our company Policy's start time to let my boss know that I was deathly ill. Unfortunately this was the earliest I could have possibly contacted my supervisor.

Should I fight this? do I have a chance? It really caught me by suprise and just like you, our atmosphere is VERY relaxed because we all know that people work from home at nights and even on weekends so when we are all "in the office" is not really that important. Nevertheless, the policy is there in the event that they need an excuse to fire someone.

Someone please help me. Thanks,


Hi Mike,

This is Chris. Tell me something,

WHY were you not able to call in until two hours after start time?

Do YOU work from home?

Was there a mandatory meeting that day?

Had you ever received prior warnings about your attendance?

AND what do you mean by "Apparently I am guilty of not calling in until two hours after our company Policy's start time to let my boss know that I was deathly ill."

Because this does not seem like an unreasonable thing for the employer to want you to do.

The problem with "free help" is that whoever is trying to help you can never get all your details Mike and the only details the state will care about is yours.

They don't care if your situation is "almost" exactly the same as someone else.


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Update
by: Anonymous

Oh and also, the UI agency person contacted me directly and asked me to verify a few things regarding the specifics of me getting let go, they wanted to know the name of my supervisor etc.

They have not set a court date or anything, they just wanted more information and they told me they would "see what my employer has to say in response to that"

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Update
by: Anonymous

My company has a pretty vague attendance policy, it does not go off the point system or anything like that.

Because of the relaxed work environment that had existed prior to what happened, everyone pretty much came in like 15-20 late a couple times a week, especially those who worked the night shift.

I believe the attendance policy had like a tier-based warning system. Where you would get a written warning and then escalate to another written warning and then escalate to possible termination. I think the exact verbage was that "If the occurs again twice in the next 90 days we will take further disciplinary action. If it occurs two more times after time we will have to explore termination". I had only been warned the one time, and terminated when I was late 3 more times. I really wish I had a copy of the paper that I signed with the first written warning, but I was never given a hard copy, they just emailed me a pdf attachment to my company email, but of course when I was fired I no longer had access to the email so I cannot see the form anymore.


When I spoke with the UI people I told them that I was pretty much let go with only one prior warning, and that I had already worked it out with my supervisor that I might be late in the coming weeks due to my sisters play, and he had said that it was okay as long as I called and let him know if I was going to be late. I also used the verbage "let go" and "laid off" but I did tell them that attendance was one of the reasons they used to get rid of me, but that it was completely out of nowhere and that they did not punish any of the other employees for the same behavior.

I also mentioned that every day I was late I called my employer and let them know that i was cutting it close but I would be there. I have never ever left my shift hanging and just completely not showed up, even at the risk of skipping school meetings or family events, so the bottom line was that the bank knew that no matter what my shift would be covered and that the worst case scenario was that I would be tardy. My benefits were approved and then they were challenged almost immediately by my previous employer.

Thanks again.

Steve

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