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Unexpected suspension

by Karen
(Compton, CA)

Hello Chris, my situation is I came to work one day and about 2 hours into work I was pulled out by my district manager into another room along with a man who carries a higher role than her (I don't recall his title).

According to them, I wasn't filling out "maintenance forms" correctly/accurate/exact. Being told what my error was, I was then told I would be suspended and have to wait to see, if I would be going back to work in a few days or not.

I was confused and left upset. Days later I receive a call from the store manager to come in and pick up my last checks. I was terminated.

I was never given a warning, had no idea of the situation, it was all unexpected.

I actually filed for unemployment a month after I was dismissed because I was unsure about applying.

I have a phone interview scheduled on the 15th and my questions are "why was I fired" "was I ever given a warning"? I'm not sure what the reason was of me being fired so I'm not sure what reason to give. I'd really appreciate if you could give me some advice. Thank you!

My answer for Unexpected Suspension from My Job

Hi Karen,

Did you receive any paperwork from the employer at the time of your suspension?

Generally speaking, an employer suspends an employee and doesn't make a decision about termination because the outcome is pending some sort of investigation.

However, if all you know for certain is what you told me, it makes sense to assume the employer's cause for termination was due to something they detected going on with those maintenance forms you filled out incorrectly, inadequately, or not exactly as prescribed by the employers rules, or relevant policies.

Nothing in those three words suggests you were fraudulently falsifying maintenance forms .. although without any written warning .. that's precisely where my mind would be headed if I were the one who had to create a document file to go along with the employers protest to the notice of claim filed .. and for me .. that means I'd be hunting for the actual investigation and person that concluded you should be fired.

Whatever they may, or may not of investigated in support of your discharge being misconduct, I would suspect it was likely relayed by the employer, to the EDD, to of given off the impression of your conduct as an employee was so egregious that a rational and reasonable person would of known immediate termination of employment would occur if caught.

When employers do have a progressive discipline policy the employees act must be so bad
as to cancel out the feasibility of warning an employee to the degree warning opens the employer up to being responsible .. if the employer does something that equates to "gross misconduct" again.

Not all states have special "gross misconduct disqualification provisions", but all states understand the concept of what that means.

So, given you should know already it is the employer's burden to prove your guilt of work related misconduct. But when it's so wanton, egregious, or negligent that prior written warnings regarding the same violation of rules would not be required, you still have to explore for deficits in an employer's burden and speculate and then keep your second set of intuitive ears open for hints during the interview.

When/if the time ever comes that you, or the employer decides to appeal the initial determination which will result after that phone interview .. knowing what they told the UI claims adjudicator should be a simple matter of requesting your state claim file that should include the adjudicator's notes.

Don't forget .. it's the employer who is being expected to first meet the burden and then the burden is batted to you .. to rebut.

You're in a tough spot because it's easier to rebut when you know what the accusation is .. and you are telling me you're unclear about the cause for termination.

You're not .. you know, because you told me it had to do with how you filled out maintenance forms ..

You do not have to help the employer meet their burden by explaining how you filled them out wrong .. because you say you still don't know that since you were never warned previously, nor made aware that how you filled out "maintenance forms" was actually putting your job in jeopardy of being terminated.

PS .. the EDD attempts to interview not just an employee, but the employer as well and likely before they call you. To whom the burden is assigned is responsible for a lot of S.O.P. for making initial determinations which are only based upon the available information a claim adjudicator does gather from both moving and non-moving party before the deadline for making an initial determination about benefits as they relate to the cause .. or fault.

Check out California's UIBDG on what an employer must prove if their cause is work misconduct.

Good luck with the interview Karen and focus on the fact .. that at this point you're not expected to do anything, but rebut with the truth you know and not surmise for the EDD what the employer might fail to tell them that would be needed to meet the burden of misconduct as cause.

Chris -

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