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Human Resources/Employer fighting unemployment benefits decision

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Question
Hi,
I live & work in Central Ohio and was fired from my job on 12/7/12. I worked for a very small company and the owner/boss was out of town since about the 5th. On the 4th I had a very bad migraine & called off work but was not able to call until right when I was supposed to be at work. I apologized & tried to explain that I had taken medication & it was extremely hard to wake up to call. I actually text & it turns out that for whatever reason it was not ok in this situation. I was told that I was to let her know via text or voice if I was going to be late or sick. Things were never consistent with this employer. One day it was fine to take off a bit early and the next it was completely unacceptable even if I was sick. For instance, my boyfriend's grandmother passed away & I asked to leave a little early. She did not like my wanting to leave 2 hours early even & stated that it was up to me & that obviously I had decided which was more important to me. I later learned that the day she fired me (mid October) that she would have fired me if I did leave early.
Anyway, when I was hired it was undertstood that I was working 30 hours with Thursdays off. Since I was out on Tuesday I decided to work on Thursday. I never received any sick days or personal days-any time off was at the complete discretion of her. Basically if she deemed it worthy or not.
So,on the 6th I had emailed her to check to make sure that I took off the following day-the 7th. She never responded to me besides via text saying she was out of town & was counting on my being there. She was always out of town & was barely ever in the office. I did not go into work. Stupid decision.
The next day she wanted to know where I was & I told her I was on my way (all via text). I then received a text saying not to bother & she was no longer employing me. About 30 mins later she called & proceeded to yell at me (understandable). I brought up the time when my bf's grandma died and she stated she would have fired me then. She also stated that she decided to fire me b/c she had said she was writing me up because I was late to work another time (she's always known I have sleep issues and in fact was just diagnosed with a thyroid problem which she knew all about). She stated that was all this that it was clear it wasn't working.
So..I applied for unemployment & was approved b/c I did not know that my job was in jeopardy. Again, nothing was ever consistent-it was a very volatile work environment.
Well I just received notice from unemployment that they are questioning why I was tardy and absent. I am very nervous that I will lose my unemployment b/c I am counting on it to live.
Do you have any advice or suggestions?? I do not want to come off as a disgruntled employee & bash her character, I just want to continue to receive my benefits.
And I apologize if my description is not clear! Feel free to ask me to clarify!

Thanks!

Answer
Suzy,

Aside from the fact you were granted unemployment , a lot of the other details are the type that are hard to prove unless you and/or the boss have documentation and often come down to "he said; she said"..    Keep in mind,  your text message and email records are a good recordkeeping method to show what day and time things were said or communicated.

So, again, the bottom line is your boss texted you to say  "not to bother...  coming in to work"   and your services were no longer needed.  So, you were laid off or fired- however you want to describe it.   So, since you did reach out to try and communicate to the boss to inform them of the situation and ask questions you did your part to proactively resolve the issue.   Whether what you did is right or wrong is irrelevant-- the important fact is you did text the boss to open the line of communication proactively.  If the company did not reply, or did not clearly answer the question you asked about, then their lack of clear response was not helping their case.

I don't think the past threat of being fired, Grandma passing away or your sleep/ migraine  issues come into play here at all.

So, in the end, you were granted UC which is the most important now.  So, answer the questions asked by the Ohio Dept of Labor on the scenario outlining your separation from work as you did above.  I assume if they are questioning your reason for separation they sent you a bunch of questions to answer to clarify-- also the employer got the same questions . Very likely you will still be entitled to receive unemployment once all the replies are reviewed.

Last,  once you get your unemployment,  immediately begin looking for work.   Do not wait for a job to fall into your lap or wait till the UC is ready to run out before you start looking for work.    MANY people make that mistake and are often the ones crying when they have no money because the UC safety net is gone 12 months later and never really looked for work.  Don't let it happen to you.  It is not a paid UC vacation--  find work for yourself !!   Don't get caught with no work.

Good luck on UC and finding new work ASAP.

Brian

Human Resources

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Brian Phillips

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Foreign and US university students -*PLEASE*- DO NOT waste your time asking for my opinions, comments or analysis of your homework questions. Homework questions are not answered and are rejected. I am happy to help answer questions asked by employees and employers regarding United States based state and Federal wage and hour, OT, Fair labor standards, FMLA, COBRA, Recruiting, Interviewing techniques, employee manuals, discipline, terminations/quits, unemployment, HRIS rollout, Employee Leasing or Staffing company cost analysis, day to day scenarios, work situations and more. Essentially a well rounded HR generalist who operates Harvis, Inc., a human resource consulting and service business based in Northeastern Pennsylvania "NEPA". http://www.harvis.org

Experience

At Harvis, Inc., we provide Human Resource products, services and advice to small businesses that may not have the time or resources to hire a full time HR department. For larger companies with HR managers in place, we compliment their expertise to help with time consuming or time sensitive projects like updating policy manuals, screening and interviewing and more. We make workplaces better by becoming that 1/2 person they need to help handle HR responsibilities on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Formerly responsible for all Human Resource activity for a staffing agency with 2,500 annual employees as well as an employee leasing / PEO business with 1,500 annual employees. Designed and implemented the HR structure to support hundreds of clients in excess of $ 500 million in payroll volume over career in Human Resources.

Organizations
* President 2006- Harvis Inc. HR Services * President 2010-13 Business Association of the Greater Shickshinny Area - Shickshinny PA * President 2013- ShickshinnyForward Not for Profit Community Long Term Revitalization Organization and former member of varios Chambers of Commerce and HR Taskforce, former President of NBC Business Club 2 years

Education/Credentials
Bloomsburg University - 1993 BS Marketing, Bloomsburg Pennsylvania and Luzerne County Community College - 1991 Business Administration, Nanticoke Pennsylvania

Awards and Honors
* Better than average - 20/10 vision * Bestowed with an occasional "Thank You" from clients and their employees.

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