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Terminated in NC - what should I put on claim form?

by Karen
(North Carolina)

Hello, Chris,

I've been reading your site and am impressed.

I was fired last week.

During the termination interview, I was told that the reason was "being disrespectful and insubordination" as well as tardiness. I was surprised that I was being fired. I'd had no warnings that any of my behavior was interpreted as disrespectful and/or insubordinate. As far as the tardiness goes, I'd been 3-5 minutes late once every few weeks and up to 10 minutes late two or three times. I called the office or boss' cell phone each time to let them know I'd be late. About three weeks ago, when I came in about 2 minutes late, my boss said that she'd have to "start writing me up" for being late. If she did so, I have no knowledge of it; I was never shown anything nor asked to sign anything that was going in my personnel file. And FYI, I work in an accounting office, where being late does not affect the business and the time can be (and was) made up during the day.

Today I received via email a Notice of Termination, combined with COBRA notification. The notice states that I was fired for "not meeting management's expectations", which was not what I was told in the termination interview. They requested that I sign the document. There was no other info regarding the termination, no separation agreement, etc.

My former employer doesn't really have anything to hang their hat on in proving any
misconduct (is that the same as disrespect & insubordination?), especially as defined in NC statutes, which is almost exactly the same as the definition you have posted on your site. I guess the worst thing I did was turn the thermostat down one degree and when confronted said that I was too hot.

I have not filed my initial claim for unemployment. What reason should I put for being fired that will best ensure that I will receive benefits?

Thank you!


Hi Karen,

Misconduct is the catch-all phrase used for anything the employer wishes to say is misconduct.

Tardiness, absences, general rule violations, having to do with following a procedure and performance issues and most are subject to some type of "progressive discipline" policy.

Insubordination, on the other hand falls into that category of behaviors that can be seen as so egregious that it requires a judgment call by the employer to terminate upon the first offense.

Do not confuse getting the cobra subsidy with unemployment benefits.

COBRA requires the separation to be "involuntary" .. unemployment requires the separation to be motivated by something considered misconduct .. of course this all depends on the perspective you are trying to prove.

The argument for the tardiness issue may be found in the employer's attendance policy and progressive discipline policy .. what was perceived to be insubordination .. is just documentation and testimony to the incident of insubordination .. which I simply consider two stories about what is really considered to be disrespectful.

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