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  1. #1

    Default Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits - Fired After Investigation of Boss

    My question involves unemployment benefits for the state of: CA

    My boss has been bullying me for nearly a year, shortly after I separated from my husband. He began exaggerating simple errors, sending me abusive emails claiming I was incompetent, holding me responsible for other's mistakes, and blatantly fabricating instances of incompetence. I would have anxiety symptoms when I'd see an email from him. None of his behavior was related to my race, sex, etc. so I knew I couldn't claim harassment, despite the emotional distress I was caused. I wondered if I could cite marital status, but I couldn't prove that he'd made comments comparing me to his ex-wife - who he HATES. I knew my only recourse was to look for another position. But in the midst of divorce proceedings, I decided to just lay low until I found the energy to move on. I continued to have success in my work, and figured the board would question him for terminating me in that light.

    A while back, I had told a friend on the board what had been occurring. She insisted it was harassment, and said I should put what he had been doing in writing and present it to him, requesting a mediator. She said this would protect me from being fired if he continued exaggerating and/or fabricating work issues. I didn't want to deal with it, so I declined. Plus, his behavior towards me was improving, inexplicably. I told her this.

    A few weeks later, she told the board about his behavior against my wishes. They decided to mount an investigation about my "concerns," and promised me that the goal was to improve my working conditions. I was told I was going to be interviewed by two board members who would treat me fairly. The president of the board called and I shared with her that some of my colleagues had suddenly began shunning me. Shortly thereafter, she called and I was tersely ordered to list my "allegations" so they could "wrap this up." My boss confronted me in the storage room, saying I was lying about one of my instances of bullying I listed in my "allegations." I felt unsafe, as though this man had a mental problem, and I was disturbed that I had told the board I was being harassed, and yet they put me in the position of being cornered and harassed further.

    I sent an email to the board president asking what was going on. She responded that they don't get involved in staff issues - when I didn't involve them in the first place! On Monday, my boss took great pleasure in firing me. He said, "We have no more confidence in your abilities." This was also written on my termination letter, after 16 years of service, and despite strong statistical evidence of my benefits to the company.

    I know that CA is an at-will state, so he could have let me go for the color of my shirt. I guess my big question is, can I be denied unemployment benefits due to their reason for terminating me? What exactly is 'misconduct'?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits - Fired After Investigation of Boss

    "The term 'misconduct' as used in (the disqualification provision) is limited to conduct evincing such willful or wanton disregard of an employer's interest as is found in deliberate violations of disregard of the standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee.

    On the other hand, mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertencies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances or good faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed 'misconduct'

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,837

    Default Re: Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits - Fired After Investigation of Boss

    Quote Quoting Annelynn
    View Post
    I know that CA is an at-will state, so he could have let me go for the color of my shirt. I guess my big question is, can I be denied unemployment benefits due to their reason for terminating me? What exactly is 'misconduct'?

    If you file for unemployment, the employer can state exactly WHY you were terminated.

    "Misconduct" is an open phrase employers use to discipline employees. Another favorite is "insubordination", which is a catch all also, especially when an employee is not liked and complains about how they are being treated unfairly/illegally at work. It is always the employees fault, according to the employers that is.

    In the Words and Phrases volumes at the law library, I can not remember if if ever saw basic case law defintions of "misconduct", but now you peak my curiousity, and I may look next time I go.


    The employee does not follow orders, they are lax in thier duties, they always complain, blah blah.

    When you are, as you say, employed at will, if you are fired unfairly, such catch phrases by the employer are always handy to claim.

    I don't think you will have hard time getting unemployment, based on what you posted.

    Good luck to you

    BOR *Bill of Rights*

  4. #4

    Default Re: Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits - Fired After Investigation of Boss

    I really appreciate your thoughtful responses. They helped a lot in this bewildering time.

    I was respectful toward my boss in the worst of times, and told just two other employees about his bullying treatment, as they had witnessed it and were concerned. I was well-liked by just about everybody, and I rarely complained about company policies, no matter how unfair. Well... there was the time several months ago that he shut down a program serving the homeless, and I stood up for them. But, in the end he apologized, in a rare moment of humanity. I don't think he will claim misconduct or insubordination.

    Incidentally, after I posted my inquiry here yesterday, I received a packet in the mail from my employer with information on unemployment insurance. I don't know if they are required to give it to me by law, or the HR administrator - who was in tears as she escorted me out - decided to send it of her own volition. I have a feeling it was the former, that they didn't get everything together because my boss just could not wait to inflict the ultimate bullying behavior on me.

    They also didn't give me my last check - they Fed Ex'd it the next day. I thought I had a right to have it the moment I was terminated.

    I don't know if it's worth complaining about to some official governmental entity, or something. I mean, why not? Trying to be a good guy and not complaining at work didn't seem to pan out all that well for me in the end.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    17,567

    Default Re: Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits - Fired After Investigation of Boss

    Well, maybe not the moment you were terminated. That day, okay.

    Only you can decide if it's worth it to complain. But I'll tell you honestly, protective as CA is of its employees, a complaint of getting paid one day later would go way, way down to the bottom of the list under those employees who didn't get paid at all. And the most you'd get would be two days pay, and maybe only one days worth, depending on whether or not the state decided that the offense was worth CA's "penalty fee".

    I'm not telling you not to. I'm giving you an honest assessment of what would happen. You'd wait a very long time to receive a very little money. If that's worth it to you, go ahead. If it's not, then move on.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits - Fired After Investigation of Boss

    Thanks for the advice, CBG.

    I'm not normally petty. Why start now? Moving right along....

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