Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 23
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default Fired for Insubordination, Unemployment Denied

    My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: New York
    Hello and thank you for any advice you can give...
    On May 9th I was terminated from my job for insubordination. I was employed as a teacher's assistant at a residential treatment center for severely emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children. On April 14th I was called at home by my supervisor telling me not to report to work the next day due to the fact that allegations of child abuse were made against me. In the nine days prior to this, I had been in 17 restraints with a particular child in my classroom. Mind you, I am a 46 year old grandmother, I am only 5'4" and about 150 pounds. This was a child that my supervisor and I had been butting heads about for months, as I felt his IEP was not being followed, he was not receiving necessary services, and I felt his treatment plan was ineffective (hence the many restraints he was in daily).
    On April 27th, I was interviewed both by a state investigator and my employer's investigator. I was cleared of the abuse charges. On April 28th, I checked my bank account and realized I had not received my paycheck. This became a battle-it took five days for that situation to be resolved, and only after complaining to the department of labor. I had called my supervisor and he told me it would be taken care of, but it was not. On Friday, April 29th, I called the principal of the school to ask for his assistance in getting my pay. He questioned me as to why I had not reported to work that day. I told him I had never received any indication from anyone that I was supposed to return to work. He told me he would find out if I was indeed supposed to be there and get back to me. He called me back approximately 20 minutes later to inform me that my supervisor was supposed to call me the day before, but "didn't have my home phone number". My home phone number is in the phone book, besides the fact that my supervisor was able to call me to tell me NOT to come to work when the investigation was begun.
    I returned to work on Monday May 2nd. I reported to my classroom as usual, worked the entire day, and never saw or spoke to my supervisor. On Tuesday, I reported to work and was called by my supervisor and asked to report to a different classroom as the normal TA for that room had called in sick that day. I was to cover for her. I was familiar with the students in that room as we had a shared gym class, and I worked with them several times per week. I reported to the classroom and worked all day without incident.
    On Wednesday, I reported to work as usual. When I was walking down the hallway to enter my classroom, my supervisor approached me in the crowded hallway and asked me to cover a different classroom, the worst in the entire school. I became panicky because this classroom was different than my usual one for several reasons-I would be the only TA in the room (my usual assigned classroom had two, myself and a male TA), and I didn't know the children, and the teacher in the room had a reputation for sitting at his desk and playing games on his computer. I became concerned for my safety and was asking my supervisor why he was doing this to me, we have a float TA whose job it is to cover classrooms when people are absent, why wasn't he sending the float TA (a strong male staff who was taking my place in my classroom), etc. I asked him if the investigators had recommended that he move my classroom? He replied "no, this is my decision." I was truly panicked and scared, and I knew I was about to burst into tears in the middle of the hallway filled with kids and staff. I said "i'm leaving" and walked down the stairs to try to find the principal to talk to him and also to get out of sight of the kids....they tend to become very agitated if they see someone else who is upset and I didn't want to send one of them into a crisis situation. Although I tried to get myself under control so I could carry out the assignment, I just couldn't stop crying. I couldn't find the principal so I spoke to my teacher whose room i normally worked in, sobbing the entire time. I then was able to speak to the principal about my concerns for my safety (again, still crying). He sort of poo-pooed my concerns, saying that they didn't take those things into consideration when deciding who would work where...this is news to me, that's normally the first concern. At any rate, I was unable to get myself together enough to enter a classroom that day. The next day I reported to work and went to the new assigned room. I worked in that classroom for the next three days, being injured twice on Monday May 9th. At the end of the day Monday May 9th, I was called to admin and fired for insubordination, due to refusing a classroom assignment. My argument is that I did not refuse the assignment, I was unable to carry it out due to my distraught emotional state, which was caused by genuine concerns for my safety and also the safety of the kids in the room. I have several witnesses to my state of mind and the fact that I was crying my eyes out (I was in the employee mail/copy room to keep out of sight of our kids). My unemployment was denied and I am requesting a hearing. I am wondering if I have a chance? I was employed there for two years with excellent reviews and worked my butt off. I had approximately 10-15 work related injuries in two years (none requiring time off and only three requiring doctor's care, but I filled out injury reports for all of them). My safety concerns were definitely justified. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,126

    Default Re: Unemployment Denied-Fired for Insubordination

    My unemployment was denied and I am requesting a hearing. I am wondering if I have a chance?
    No one can really answer this. What we might think about your situation has no bearing on what the state might think about your situation.

    From my perspective, you'll probably be denied again, since rather than carrying out your assignment as instructed, you told your supervisor "I'm leaving" and proceeded to have a breakdown/panic attack. But you never really know what the state will have to say, so attend the hearing and hope for the best.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    28,296

    Default Re: Unemployment Denied-Fired for Insubordination

    agreed. The fact you took it upon yourself to withdraw from the assignment that day, even with your justifications, is insubordination. If you had reported and been asked to leave, or even spoken with the teacher or administration about your concerns and allowed them to make the decision, it would be different but you simply refused, on your own accord, to not attend the class you were assigned to.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Fired for Insubordination, Unemployment Denied

    I realize these things and that is why I can't get a good feeling for how the hearing will go. Insubordination is defined as a willful refusal to perform a reasonable request...etc. My refusal was not willful, if I could have fulfilled the request, I would have. Also, the request was not a reasonable one. I was injured in the classroom, as I feared I would be. We are even told in trainings not to put ourselves in situations where we feel unsafe, and although this had not happened to me before, I was under the impression that I had a right to refuse anything that compromised my safety. So I guess it will just depend on the hearing examiner and how he interprets the information. I also felt that because of all the circumstances leading up to that day (the investigation, not being paid, not being called to return to work), that my supervisor was trying to provoke me into quitting. We shall see!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,126

    Default Re: Fired for Insubordination, Unemployment Denied

    Also, the request was not a reasonable one.
    How do you figure? You work in a facility for SBH youngsters. It's not like you didn't know that there would be violent students there - that's rather the definition of an SBH kid, and if that's a surprise to you, you have no business working with such kids.

    You were asked to do your job, nothing more.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    28,296

    Default Re: Fired for Insubordination, Unemployment Denied

    portoquinn;534710] Insubordination is defined as a willful refusal to perform a reasonable request...etc. My refusal was not willful, if I could have fulfilled the request, I would have
    .Your decision to walk away was willful. I do not see how you can argue anything contrary. Nobody made you walk away. Nobody prevented you from attending the class. You were not injured so as to not be able to attend to the class. When you said "i'm leaving", that made it willful.

    Also, the request was not a reasonable one.
    It's not reasonable to ask you to do the job you were hired for?

    I was injured in the classroom, as I feared I would be.
    that happens. It is a likelihood in your occupation.

    We are even told in trainings not to put ourselves in situations where we feel unsafe, and although this had not happened to me before, I was under the impression that I had a right to refuse anything that compromised my safety.
    I suggest they were speaking of specific situations, not a general "the classroom isn't safe so I can refuse to do my job". Just what were you expecting? If you cannot do the job you were hired for, being terminated is probably the best thing that could happen to you.

    I also felt that because of all the circumstances leading up to that day (the investigation, not being paid, not being called to return to work), that my supervisor was trying to provoke me into quitting. We shall see!
    That could be but most managers that do this don't give up so quickly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Fired for Insubordination, Unemployment Denied

    I guess I have to disagree, since the most important part of my job was to insure the safety of the students in my care, and that was not possible as a sole TA in a classroom with a teacher who, in his entire time (several years) of employment, had never even assisted in a restraint. Two of the boys in that class outweighed me by at least 60 pounds. If they had gotten into a fight, I would not have been able to stop them. That is why I felt that both my and their safety was at risk. It's obvious by your comments that you have no idea of what it's like to work in such a facility, so I should not have asked my questions on this forum. When people hear the title "teacher assistant" they form an idea of what your duties are, and assume you work in a lovely school environment. When they hear "children", they think of seven year olds. I worked with older adolescents. One of my co-workers suffered a fractured skull two weeks before my incident and has traumatic brain injury due to improper staffing at the facility, and he will never work again. I guess he also had "no business" working in that environment, even though he'd been there 15 years.
    This is the worst advice forum I've ever seen. You're not even attorneys. My fault for not doing better research on the site.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    28,296

    Default Re: Fired for Insubordination, Unemployment Denied

    thanks for playing psychic. While I have never worked in such a situation, I have a daughter and Godmother that have. I am quite familiar with the situations you speak of. If you had quit your job due to you not being capable of performing the duties required or there was not legally adequate staffing to ensure a relatively safe environment you would have a totally different argument. You didn't do that. You made a unilateral decision to simply refuse to attend the room you were assigned to and left the room without an assistant. I see nothing more than you were derelict in your duties. You abandoned the teacher. You were insubordinate.

    There is a huge difference between running off weeping (which was your claim as to why you could not go to the room) and refusing to accept the assignment due to a safety issue. Had you simply made the claim it was not safe and could not attend the class, your argument would make more sense. Since you simply wanted to compose yourself before going to the room and, for some reason, simply couldn't, your argument makes absolutely no sense.

    Isn't it kind of hard to argue this:
    Two of the boys in that class outweighed me by at least 60 pounds. If they had gotten into a fight, I would not have been able to stop them.



    when you previously stated this:

    and I didn't know the children,
    they could have been the most docile kids in the school for all you know.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,126

    Default Re: Fired for Insubordination, Unemployment Denied

    It's obvious by your comments that you have no idea of what it's like to work in such a facility, so I should not have asked my questions on this forum.
    Because I'm unsympathetic to your whining? Please. My sister has worked with SBH kids since she was 17. I've lost count of how many broken bones, concussions, stitches, bruises, and bites she's sustained in the course of her professional life.

    And yet, she does her job. There are no sobbing breakdowns, no need to "get [herself] under control", no wailing about how the kids outweigh her and she doesn't feel safe. She jumps right back into her job with both feet, and has done so for 18 years.

    She's a consummate pro. You? Not so much. It's not our fault you couldn't perform your job duties, and it's not our problem that you don't like the answers. If you want someone to hold your hand and cluck sympathetically, retain counsel. Understand that you'll get the same answers, though, just with a big bill attached.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    8

    Angry Re: Fired for Insubordination, Unemployment Denied

    Obviously there is much more to the story than can be related in one post, albeit a very long one. I agree, they may have been the most docile kids in the room-but I have no way of knowing that beforehand. I stated that there was a staffing issue-me being the only TA in the room, with an ineffectual teacher who could not be counted on to provide assistance if a restraint were necessary. I'm very happy for your sister, but I highly doubt that in the 18 years in her job, she has never cried. If that's the case, then her place of employment is much different than mine was, because I saw different staff crying everyday. I also suffered many job related injuries and "jumped right back in", but I am not about to put myself or my students in an obviously unsafe situation. I was backed into a corner and started to cry, and removed myself from the situation, as most people would. I believe I stated that many of the children become agitated and in fact go into crisis when a staff is visibly upset. That's why I removed myself, not for my benefit. Maybe I didn't express myself properly in my initial post. And I have retained counsel, (not for the unemployment, but for unpaid overtime wages over the course of employment) and he is not charging me anything, only a percentage of anything I gain. Because he has all of the background information and details of the situation, he feels it's a no-brainer case.
    Your obvious hostility is disturbing and inappropriate. I thought this was a forum for advice, not bashing.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Denial & Appeals: Unemployment Denied for Misconduct, Fired for No Reason
    By skbunting in forum Unemployment Insurance
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-03-2011, 01:07 PM
  2. Denial & Appeals: Can I Win an Unemployment Appeal After Termination for Insubordination
    By Hopeful72 in forum Unemployment Insurance
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-25-2010, 06:41 PM
  3. Disqualification: Fired for Poor Work Performance and Now Unemployment Denied
    By TenneK35 in forum Unemployment Insurance
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-01-2010, 07:55 AM
  4. Termination: Fired and Not Told Why, then Denied Unemployment Stating Theft
    By owngeek in forum Resignation and Termination
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-20-2009, 01:00 PM
  5. Termination: Fired Without Cause, then Denied Unemployment for Racism
    By hhawkins24 in forum Resignation and Termination
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-02-2009, 01:48 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 
Forum Sponsor
Find A Lawyer - Free, confidential referrals.
Legal Forms - Buy easy-to-use legal forms.




Untitled Document