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Unemployment benefits received but employer wants a hearing to appeal

by Leslie

I worked for a supermarket for 5 yrs 1 mth. I started in Georgia and transferred with the same company to Alabama in Jan.2009 for family reasons. I was in an armed robbery the 2nd month at this new store. I consulted a lawyer because the store didn't want to pay bills because they stated I was not physically hurt. However, I was 4 months pregnant and had tripped over a rug after giving the gunmen what he wanted. I had sharp pains and did not know whether I was going into labor, being that it was my pregnancy. I transferred again to another store that was about 1 1/2 hour away to be closer to husband job. We had a place of residency awaiting us but before the transfer was final, I ended up having emergency surgery for my gallbladder. We lost out on the home buy my transfer had gone through. So now I was driving 3 hours round trip 5 days a week. I proposed transferring back which they weren't happy about, but agreed and I assisted on helping train someone to replace me if it would help me transfer quicker. Anyway, my surgery which was supposed to be confidential information was discussed with normal staff which bothered me because of breach of confidentiality. I was not able to transfer back to the previous store because they took too long to transfer me back. Anyway, before this store, I have never received 1 customer complaint. 1st complaint happened June21,2010, but was brought to my attention on June 25,2010. The counseling statement was already written and dated for June 21,2010, without no concern to hear my side of the story. The complaint was a customer complained I ignored her because I was working on a previous customer's western union transaction. She stated when I waited on her that I did not speak. I do not recall such an incident as I told them and I should have notified then so maybe I could have recalled something that stood out. The store manager's response was that she headed out of the store for the day and told her customer service manager to write me up and she would sign the form the following day. Yet still I received the form 4 days later.2nd complaint, Oct.06,2010, involved a customer who came to the service desk inquiring why her coupons did not double. I explained to her sometimes they do it just depends on the vendor and it has to be .50 and below. She stated her sister had similar coupons and hers doubled. So I asked to see her receipt and noticed that the cashier she went to suppressed doubling. I also noticed that the cashier that rung her up was an office staff worker like me. So I am wondering maybe they changed the policy and perhaps put up a memo near the time clock that maybe I missed. So I see another office staff worker and inquired to her about the situation. She was baffled also. So I needed to find out for the customer and myself. Therefore, I called the customer service manager and showed him the receipt and inquired about whether or not this was something new. He told me that we were not to suppress coupons and instructed the other office worker to give the customer the difference since her register was closer. The customer sent an email to corporate stating that "I was as helpful as a paper bag, I looked like I could have cared less, and I looked to be miserable." I was given a counseling statement on Oct. 18,2010, and suspended for 5 days. When I was called upon by the store manager and c/s manager the form was already filled out without any voice of reasoning from me. I mentioned 2 witnesses including the c/s manager himself. I asked him if he remembered the situation and to inquire of my behavior but the store manager cut me off and told me that it is the perception of the customer that matters. Basically I had nothing to say in her decision. She told me that she could not understand how I even got promoted to customer service and that if it was up to her, I would have never been promoted. She brought up my time record wondering why I never hit 40 hours a week but maybe 37,38, or 39 hrs weekly. Two other experienced workers were known to get out before their time. They were always cutting hours, so why was that bothering her. I was full-time but always scheduled 38.30-39.30 hours. I was allowed to finish my shift because I was closing and there was no one to take my place. I returned October 25,2010. My evaluation period was May 01,2010,-October 31,2010. I received a "Successful/Meet Expectations"evaluation with a raise. This surprised me given my store manager’s opinion of me and she signed off on the evaluation. I only cashiered after returning from suspension. I received word that the Team Leader who was a favorite of the store manager and the Administrator Coordinator had told my business about my being suspended, the alleged reasons behind them, and consequences of further complaints. I had a decision to make. whether call corporate or tell the store manager because I felt there was no type of confidentiality. I opt to tell the store manager who stated she was very

upset a T L and AC because of their position were just below management and the access to a lot of confidential matters. First off, they should not have been made aware of my troubles. I was told by the store manager that she only told her assistant and the TL so she can make adjustments to the schedule. Problem is the TL doesn't make or alter the schedules that is for the customer service manager who witness my write up and suspension. He was already aware of scheduling conflicts since I was suspended. This cause a disturbance throughout the store. But I felt violated everyone knew about my suspension and you could feel the tension. I knew I wasn't guilty of the customer's allegations but I was uncomfortable and my name was being slandered. The Team leader apologized for her involvement but I was not relieved because she should have been suspended or terminated. Of course I knew to be on my best behavior. Anytime something was not right with a customer, I would inform management of the situation so that would be my defense in preparation. I was called into the office on December 12,2010, to be told a lady checked out in my line with WIC (Women Infant & Children). I was told that the lady stated that she thought that I had rolled my eye at her and that she felt embarrassed to use her voucher. I recalled speaking to her as I would any other customer. I even made the comment to her that the juice was buy one get one free meaning instead of getting one as the voucher instructed she could get two. I told her that I needed to use my voucher also because the sale ended the next day. I m WIC recipient also. I thank the customer as I do everyone and I never has the impression that I had done something wrong. I was told that I had a complaint days earlier. The customer had several American Gift Cards for $50.00 each. There was a coupon in the sales paper and the promotion stated that you could get $10.00 off AMEX Gift card. The deal is limited to one deal per coupon per customer per transaction. I explained it to the customer and I had a witness who was also office staff who was helping bag for me. The lady wanted to know if she could divide the orders up. I told her that I had to go by the limitations of the coupon. This is not the first I had dealt with the woman with the coupons restrictions. The office staff offered to ring up 1 of the other cards up at the service desk. I thank her as I would my customers. She complained about me not taking her coupons and that I was slinging her groceries. But how could I sling her groceries if the office staff was right there bagging for me. I wondered why I wasn't notified of this complaint earlier and was told since the store manager was on vacation, she would deal with it upon her return. I was told she knew of the complaint before going but yet she did not address the issue. The WIC incident happened since her vacation. I finished my shift after the meeting no write up or anything. The following day, Dec3 13,2010, I worked as usual and upon returning from my lunch break, was asked to be seen by the c/s manager in the office. He told me that apparently the store manager had gotten word of the WIC incidence.. The c/s manager told me that she wanted me to leave immediately that evening. He assured me no one else had knowledge of this and that he wasn't sure of anything else. I was to come Dec3 18,2010, after 2:00 p.m. "if" I wanted to talk with the store manager (returning from her vacation). I came maybe 10 minutes after to give her enough time to settle so I would not have to wait around because I knew everyone knew absences were coincidental. She sat me down and told me I was stressing her out. She asked me what should she do in her position. My reply was I imagine you already have your mind made up. She told me that the customer's are always right and their perception is what matters. She said she was tired of dealing with me and she pulled out a "Notice of Discharge" that was already completed and sent off to corporate before our meeting began. Whatever happen to "innocent until proven guilty?" More like "guilty until proven innocent."Or better "guilty and not given the chance to be proven innocent'" She told me that she had to make an example out of me. She told me she went through my files and went through previous evaluations that stated I needed to have more interactions with the customers. Everyone can always improve on more interactions with the customer. I told her that I did not disagree with that statement. So I asked her how many complaints did she come across and replied none. The WIC incident could have been the lady witnessing the end of a sneeze or yawn,etc. Circumstantial evidence, nothing concrete. No asking associates about the last 3 incidences because there was witnesses. I asked her to replay the tapes for the incidences to no avail.

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May 15, 2014
don't understand the ruling
by: Anonymous

I had a telephone hearing after being denied I looked on the website and it said the decision was affirmed. What does this mean?

I used the search bar and found this page with "what does affirmed mean"

What does affirmed mean?

If you were denied it would be your your appeal and I assume you would of been hoping for a reversal. But the affirmation doesn't look to be good news for anyone, but the employer.

Jan 29, 2011
Employer is appealing your benefits .. because
by: Chris - Unemployment-tips

Hi Leslie

The employer is appealing your benefits .. because that's what employers do when people are allowed benefits .. at least in my experience .. that's what they do.

In my opinion, your employer showed it's stripes when they gave you grief over paying medical bills due to tripping while being robbed at gunpoint.

The problem with unemployment hearings for claimants (and employers and their "agents" know this) is that claimants fail to defend their position properly at unemployment hearings .. and reversals are only possible for the employer if they appeal .. so you can fall on your face due to your inexperience with the appeal process.

It should go without saying .. I'm not talking about cases where misconduct is clear and would even make a dog raise it eyebrows at the stupidity of it's master .. who can no longer afford to feed him.

Every claimant should know the relative worth of their unemployment claim over 26 weeks.

That is what anyone in your position has the potential to lose .. not to mention what would be required to repay if you lose the hearing.

It is also the potential monetary loss to the employer.

You are articulate when expressing yourself, but still I strongly recommend having someone with lots of knowledge about unemployment to handle the presentation on your behalf at the hearing.

There used to be a time .. I would have slid a link in here to one of my coaching sessions .. because it's all I had to offer to help anyone understand what happens at a hearing and to try to help them focus on the objective.

It's has taken me a long time to find just one of these knowledgeable people that are willing to represent claimants at hearings for a reasonable amount of money.

You have a case, that I would say .. stinks for the employer because it involves customer complaints .. and the customers will not be witnesses .. therefore the employer's witness will most likely, be offering hearsay, but who knows what else they might try to bring up at a hearing.

Hearing representatives experienced at cross examination of employer witnesses and knowing when to object to benefit you .. are an advantage I believe in my heart could help more people get or retain their benefits.

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