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What would be "good evidence" to fight for unemployment if I was fired due to willful misconduct?

by Sara
(Atlanta, GA)

I worked for my employer for 8 months. I did anything, everything and more for them and loved what I did. I one day suggested that I'd like to eventually be an office manager to my direct boss and the owner of the practice. After that my direct boss(who happened to be the owner's wife) decided to badger me about stupid things. For example: She first told me when I was hired that I could ask either her or the owner(her husband) whenever I needed a day off. Then when the day came and I needed a day off for an urgent medical appointment I called and texted both of them and neither responded so I canceled the Appt... an hour later my boss says no, 30 minutes after that the owner says yes. I politely confront him and told him what she said and it stirred this "feud" of sorts amongst them. At the end of it all I was told to ask him if I needed time off. Months later, right before she fires me, she tells me that I should go to her about time off because he need not concern himself about those things. I felt as if I was working in a hostile working environment because everyday she was there(only about 10 hours a week) she would bring up the same things to me "you should keep a notebook" when I always had and had it in front of me when she would say it. She would make me do a lot of things that were listed in her job description. I tried to go to the owner about it but she always intercepted me or he would say if I had a problem to take it up with her. I was never disciplined orally or written because I excelled at my job and worked hard to ignore the comments she would make to me. Finally she emailed me after a discussion we had about some minute problem and wanted to rehash it again. I snapped or at least I didn't hold back. I needed to confront

this so that we could get back to a working relationship. I emailed her back to respectively tell her she was hurting my feelings and that I felt she was "badgering" me at times just for the sake of doing it but that I really hoped I could continue to work there and do my job like I always had and try to better myself any way she saw fit. She drove to my house the next day and said "I'm letting you go do you want to know why or do you want to get your stuff out of my car?" She said she was firing me for "insubordination-willful misconduct" I've got a hearing to fight the determination in 9 days. I honestly don't think I was rude in the email but even if she or they(unemployment office) think I was, can I fight it at all? I did it privately and in a way to try and stop the harassment. Do I stand a chance? She also gave me 2 weeks pay in lieu of notice. I didn't think that someone fired under those terms qualified for it. At least it says that they wouldn't be in the employee manual. Sorry if this is so long I just didn't know what was relevant and what wasn't. Thank you so much for any help you can give.

Yes, of course you stand a chance and yes of course you can fight this .. and very possibly win.

What is insubordination? It's a refusal to comply with a reasonable directive or instruction from your boss.

It is not an email which is trying to address an ongoing problem as long as the email was respectful and doesn't display a "bad attitude".

No written warnings .. simply mean it will be a she said / she said affair at the hearing.

Stick to the point though. "The final incident" .. it seems .. due to the lack of documentation to be the only incident that should matter.

The only thing I don't know for sure is what your email contained .. exactly.

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Apr 30, 2012
by: brandy

I was recently let go due to tardiness at my position. In my denial letter it said that I had overslept yet that was never told to management. I was a salaried employee and did not punch a clock. I judged my opening of the shop that I ran... by weather and volume of people. Appointments were scheduled by customers so If my first appointment was not until ten (10) AM. I did not show up at 6:30 AM. There was never a written rule as to opening the shop, just a (usually around 7). I definitely made a major mistake on turn the clock back day. But the assumption of overslept was incorrect. My schedule is very inconsistent and well over 40 hours and I went to the doctor where I was diagnosed with extreme high blood pressure and exhaustion. When coming back to work I could not physically continue and was told that I had the option to resign or be fired if I wanted to collect unemployment.
Well not proud, but I did the latter. (and have been denied). How should I handle this?

Hi Brandy,

You really haven't provided enough details for me to tell you how to handle this.

I think you have a case to appeal here if you were denied unemployment benefits.

It sounds like a quit in lieu of discharge and the reason for you being late was medical in nature. That's important stuff to consider .. as well as any past history the employer may bring up ..

I think it was correct that your "resignation" was adjudicated as a discharge .. since that is what happened despite any resignation letter.

However, I'm have zero information from you about anything in your possession that would prove the employer lied about oversleeping .. which is not an acceptable excuse for tardiness .. after being warned. There is a difference between a pattern of tardiness that establishes habitual behavior and being late on the day daylight savings springs our clocks forward.

The difference is isolated instances vs. habitual patterns.

If you'd like a rep to evaluate your case and tell you if they think you can win .. after learning some relevant details, please fill out the request for representation.

I think you should also read and understand a general definition of work related misconduct.

Jul 11, 2010
more info
by: Sara

the emotional comment go way back with me and her. It started with her training me. She would tell me something to change and I would tell her no problem but I would also explain why I did it. She would always say there's no reason to be so defensive. I'd explain I wasn't trying to be defensive and it would fade off until the next silly thing would come up. She always said I was an emotional person but I never was. I've recently tried to do research on for the appeal so I asked other coworkers. They said no that I always had a level head on my shoulders and that I handled stressful situations with ease.

as far as the other paragraphs go I was just answering questions that she asked me and since no one that has read the letter so far has mentioned anything about the other stuff I didn't bother to mention it. I've now had 9 people read all of the emails (her email and mine) and they all say that it was very polite. only two people mentioned those spots. either way I just don't know what I can do to prove that I didn't mean any of it maliciously. I loved my job and its a shame it came down to this. other than just saying that I wasn't trying to be rude I don't know what else to say. thank you for responding so quickly I'm glad there are people like you out there that can help other out.


I'm just playing devil's advocate. It is also what every unemployment claimant must do .. It all goes back to that link I have to How to think like a lawyer.

Those steps that are listed are the process you must proceed upon .. especially, if you have never filed an unemployment claim in your life because of quitting or being fired.

Don't mind me Sara .. I would of just chosen a different way to say the same thing in the email, but that's just because I know how "semantics" are twisted and turned.

Heck, unemployment statutes themselves don't explain fully what it meant by "good cause".

That is where that "reasonable person" standard always rears it ugly head .. Who is to say that just because a person works for a state unemployment department that they actually possess the impartial ability to judge the concept of what is reasonable fairly?

An unemployment claimant's duty to themselves is to have a compelling argument and in your case that would consist of showing the employer's choice to termination you for insubordination was unreasonable and even to present your truthful testimony that explains there was no insubordination, but in fact the termination was the result of a personality conflict the employer had with you and that no matter how hard you tried to resolve this .. the employer's own personal insecurity was the actual cause.

This is just the concept Sara .. not an argument based on the facts.

Jul 10, 2010
more info about the email
by: Sara

The email is rather long and it seems respectful to me. I have had several people read the emails and the only negative comment I've gotten was "I think it was well written but I can tell your frustrated and I can see spots where you might have been sarcastic. When I asked her where she thought that was and there were two sentences in about 10 paragraphs. She's right, I was trying to not to be sarcastic but I know I might have been. The first one was:
"I'm glad you took the time to go through all that though. Its helps clarify when I'm wrong and I definitely need that to keep my self-esteem in check."

second one was:
"This may not be how you feel. I don't know and I don't care. I will be there every day with bells on trying to be better today than yesterday. I just want you to understand why I get so emotional when you tell me I should do better. No matter what I say its not good enough. Especially since your only there for about 10-15 hours a week and you cant see all the good you only hear the bad."

Hmmm, would you like to know what strikes me? Never mind, I'm going to tell you any way.

The first thing was that you said 10 paragraphs in .. that's implies a long email and that there may be more stuff in that email that you don't think implies a tone of insubordination.

The second thing was this sentence "I just want you to understand why I get so emotional when you tell me I should do better."

What do you mean "emotional" that implies "verbal confrontations".

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