My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: WA
I worked for the company for over 5 years. The owners of the company and my immediate manager were extremely happy with my performance. I was promoted twice, given significant raises and percentage of profit yearly. The company was doing well until Nov 2009. My employer couldn’t afford me on full time and I was asked to take temporary partial lay-off, but they asked me to stay with the company, “because I was valuable asset to the company” as they said. After four months on part-time they asked me back on full time.
After three months of being back on full time, I got fired as a result of the heated meeting, during which I was accused of being deceitful for almost 5 years, including being dishonest about my personal life. Note: I was trusted to manage company cash flow up to $5M, to translate official documents, to fly around the world to represent my Company, and to have access to the strictly confidential information. I told them that it wasn’t right to accuse like that. Then the President of the company started yelling at me telling that he should’ve fired me long time ago. I felt defenseless and I told him “Fire me”. After this he lost his composure and yelled “get the hell out of there”. He ordered my manager to make sure I packed and to escort me out of the office.
I applied for UI. In the official required documents from UI office, my employer indicated following for the reason of termination as “No final incident and no misconduct. Employee asked to be fired”. UI office contacted me over the phone to interview about the situation and I told everything what happened. A week after the interview, I received a letter from UI confirming that I was approved for Unemployment benefits and started to receive compensation immediately after this letter.
Almost a month after me being on unemployment, my employer filed an appeal based on a different reasoning - inexcusable tardiness and insubordination. They came up with the very detailed records of my working hours that included every time I was 5-10 min late or spent more than 10 min in the bathroom. However, their records didn’t show when I was leaving work. I’d usually leave work well after my 8 hrs were up. I was on salary and quite often I worked overtime. They also enclosed testimonials from two people (the President of the company and his wife, who were present at that meeting), in which they point out to the fact of insubordination and defiant behavior. Important to note that I wasn’t aware of the issues the employer filed as the proof for appeal as I was never given any warnings. There was a third person at that meeting, my immediate manager, but he quit because of the unbearable workload after I was fired.
I have a phone hearing scheduled in a week. I am a bit nervous about it. Do I need a lawyer in my case? What can I present to my defense? I will be very thankful for advice.