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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Question Denied unemployment benefits: boss said I quit when I was really laid-off, advice?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Colorado

    I had worked as a service technician at a small amusements company for less than 2 months before I was laid-off. In the time shortly leading up to my being laid-off it was clear that business was slow and that they were struggling to find things for me to do during my shift. As this was obvious to me, I approached my boss and asked him how this would affect me. He agreed that business was slow, confirming that he had just recently lost 3 accounts, and that if I found a new job in the meantime that I should accept it. I asked him if he could provide me with 30 days notice before letting me go, he initially agreed to that but on the following day he said that he couldn't give me any set notice. On Wednesday, August 26th I was told that Monday, August 31st would be my last day on the job (the last day of the pay period). I called off the following day, Thursday, so that I could research how to apply for unemployment and begin searching for a new job. When I called to inform my boss that I was calling in that day, and that I would be in the next day, Friday, he told me not to bother and to just go ahead and come in on Monday to get my paycheck. Him and I shook hands on Monday and it seemed as if we were parting on good terms.

    A month later, after having applied for unemployment and failing to find a new job that paid comparably, I received a letter from the Unemployment Office stating that I'm being denied benefits because when they contacted my boss he said I quit coming to work, resigning my position. This is an OUTRIGHT lie. I've appealed the decision but I won't even receive a hearing date for at least 6-8 weeks as they're very busy right now. I'm ruined financially, I won't be able to survive these next 6-8 weeks without collecting benefits, but there's really nothing I can do to expedite the process so I'm doing my best to find work at a staffing agency in the meantime so that I can survive. And when I do have the hearing, it's his word against mine - I have no documentation proving that I was laid-off and he has no documentation proving that I quit.

    What can I do in the meantime to prepare for this hearing? I'd love to collect information which would support my position but I'm not a P.I., what can I do? I've contacted an attorney but they want $220 just for the initial consultation and I can't afford that (much less the money that would be required to have him try the case for me). I can provide a motive for his laying me off, the 3 accounts he lost in the weeks leading up to me being asked to leave, but I have no way to prove that.

    Additionally, this employer has a history of being unable to keep people on staff - there have been a dozen or more people in my position in less than 2 years, most of them quitting or being fired.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I can't let this man get away with this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Don't despair totally. You have a fairly good chance of being approved in this circumstance, if you follow it through. But one thing to remember, when your claim was taken, you were not asked about your family income. You did not have to show them you are poor and that you need unemployment to keep you from starving. It is not an income support program, it is an insurance program. You cannot sue people for your not getting it in time to stave off financial troubles. I know it is really hard on someone when they have to wait, but eventually, you have a pretty good chance you will be reimbursed for each of these weeks if you are approved on appeal.

    To win your case, or to get all the information you need for your hearing you do not have to be a P.I. You will not need an attorney if you are well organized and able to speak for yourself concisely. You can probably represent yourself quite adequately. Remember that this case is in no way how this has ruined you financially or how badly you need to draw benefits. It is about the reason you were let go or left your last job.

    You need to continue to certify for weeks until your hearing. If you win approval in this appeal, you will be backpaid for each week you've filed for. If you do get another job, you will, of course, stop certifying after the first week you work, but do continue with the appeals process, still attend the hearing so that you will be back paid for those weeks that you were eligible.

    Okay. Sit down with a pad and write down everything that was said related to you leaving your job. Try to figure out the exact dates when this was said and that was said. Emphasize several times that you did NOT quit your job. That he TOLD you on such and such date, by phone call, (incidentally, you do have phone records of calls you received and made, don't you?) and then in person that you were just not to come in any more. Did anyone else overhear the conversation between you and he when you agreed that you were laid off? If so, mention that John Q. Employee was there in the office and can confirm that you had this conversation. Otherwise, specifically stress that there was no one else around when this conversation occurred. (else he may try to force another person to come in and swear he heard you say you quit.)

    Whether this is a telephone or in person hearing, it will be a very structured situation.You will be allowed to speak first, to present your case, and then he will be allowed to present his. Everything will be recorded, and you will both be sworn in before you give testimony. He may lie, do not be surprised. If you are given the opportunity to ask him a question, be specific and ask, "Did you in fact, tell me on such and such date that I was not to come back?" and if he denies this, you might ask "Do you understand that you are under oath right now?"

    Remember, you are trying to be more believable. Remember that your word is worth every bit as much as the employer's word. Since having you draw off him would affect his bottom line, the unemployment office sort of assumes that either of you may be lying. Of course a dishonest employer can deny that you were laid off. Stress in your hearing that you could tell that business was getting very slow, and that there was less and less to do. Mention the three accounts that you have personal knowledge he lost. But if he says you were fired, he would have to show a good misconduct reason why he fired you, and a progressive trail of discipline, which of course, he will not have. You will be giving sworn testimony, so you do not have to worry about having "proof" of everything you say. That said, be very specific. DO NOT wander off onto the fact that others have told you he is a terrible person to work for and that everyone else he's had has either quit or been fired. That would weaken your case, as you did not do either. HE told YOU not to come back because business was slow. That is your presentation.

    If this guy is really this sleazy, the unemployment office may have had dealings with him before, though you will not know this. In any case, you have a pretty good chance of winning this one, in my opinion. Good luck to you.

    Last edited by commentator; 09-28-2009 at 06:20 PM.
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