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  1. #1
    arunau is offline Junior Member
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    Nov 2004
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    Unemployment Appeals Hearing in Indiana

    I have an upcoming Unemployment Appeals Hearing in Indiana. I was terminated for falsify documentaion. However I did not do it on purpose. Most of my co-workers would agree this is very easy to do. As much paperwork that is required from that type of position, if a supervisor looked thru all of someone's paperwork they would surely find an error. I worked for a non-profit agency as an Employment Specialist (job coach, assisting disabled clients with obtaining employment). After five years with the same supervior, (I had always rec'vd good elavualtions) I got a new supervisor due to the organization making changes. He was quick to inform us that he would get rid of all his staff by cleaning house. After one year I was the only one left, all the others he had replaced (some with his family). He had tried two other times to terminate me and I fought him both time thru internal appeals, winning both times. So when this last incident arrose I decided not to fight him, no matter how much I liked my job and the clients I worked with I just couldn't handle working under him anymore. So of course he is fighting my unemployment, and I have my appeals hearing next week. My questions are: Does human error count as a reason for termination, since I did not complete the paperwork wrong on purpose. Does he have to be the one to prove I was terminated for just cause? And most importantly I can not get any current employees to make statements at my hearing. I'm sure it is because the boss is very intimidating and they fear his posibile after affects. I have some previous employees that had the same job title and duties offer to type up some statements. Will these statements be able to be used? Otherwise it's his word against mine, right? What should be included in the statements, I mean do they need to include exact dates of occurances? Because some of them happened several months ago and they don't remember everything exactly. Also do the statements have to be notirized? Thanks for your help and input I am nervous about the whole process and have been losing sleep, which upsets me even more that I have allowed him to get to me.
  2. #2
    SuzieWahoozie is offline Member
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    You're going to have a long row to hoe here! Convincing the adjudicator (ALJ) that you "accidentally" falsified documentation is going to be very hard to do! How can you prove it was unintentional?

    The statements from your former coworkers will not be admissable, notarized or not. You should have had your former coworkers subpoenaed (the instructions for doing that under IN's UI process would have been available from the unemployment office, and probably in the packet of information they sent you initially or when they announced that an appeal had been filed). It is probably too late to subpoena now, so if they aren't willing to come voluntarily on your behalf, you are pretty much SOL. You could always try the notarized statement approach. You may get a sympathetic ALJ who will allow it. You have nothing to lose. Your former coworkers should be as thorough as possible, but 100% truthful without embellishing or "guessing" anything. If they don't remember an exact date, they shouldn't include it. A general timeframe, such as "approximatley one month ago;" "in July;" etc. will have to suffice.

    It will more likely than not come down to your word against his, and since he is claiming you're a liar, he is probably going to appear more credible. Unless you have some tangible proof this was just an error, you're going to have a hard time showing that the falsified documents were a mistake.

    I've been in HR for more than 20 years in all sorts of industries, with varying degrees of paperwork involved, and I can't even figure out how you'd make such a mistake! You get a form to complete, and you do EXACTLY as you're told. Having a lot of forms to complete or read, etc. is no excuse. You take the time to do it correctly, completely, and truthfully.

    If I were the ALJ, you'd be sunk, but good luck to you. No one deserves to be "punished" for an honest mistake.

    You are also going to be up against this gentleman when it comes to references. Have you thought about that? If he tells prospective employers you falsified documentation, you'll have a difficult time getting a job elsewhere.

    You need to talk to this gentleman calmly and professionally and see if you can get him to agree to stick only to dates of hire and position held.
  3. #3
    arunau is offline Junior Member
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    Nov 2004
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    Thanks Suzie Wahoozie

    Thanks for your reply and advise, but I guess I still don't understand if the policy is not evenly inforced is that grounds for me to possibliy win the appeal?? I know I completed the paperwork wrong and I don't really plan on arguing that point. After all he has a copy and so do I. But I just think it is totally inappropriate for me to lose my job and now my references for potential employment is ruined over something so simple. I am the person that trains new hirees on how to complete the papwerwork properly. It was the start of September and I turned in a two inch stack of papers all with the date 9-3-04 with the exception of one form I accidentlly put 8-3-04. The whole thing seems petty. Should I just call him and apoligize and cancel the hearing? And then hope he doesn't make more of the situation when potential employeers call him??
  4. #4
    SuzieWahoozie is offline Member
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    Do NOT Cancel the Hearing

    Of course, you want to go to the hearing. If the situation is as simple as you claim - just a simple misdated form, you stand a better chance of showing it's not willful. Many people (including the ALJ, I'd bet) have put "8" when we mean "9," especially at the beginning of a month, as it was in your situation. How many of us have written the first check of the New Year with last year's date? This is not an uncommon mistake. The ALJ may potentially see it that way. Now that you've explained a little more, and unless there's something you're leaving out, my guess is the ALJ is going to think your former boss is petty and overreacted. That can only bode well for you.

    As for the references, you need to handle that as a separate issue from the unemployment. talk to him privately about that.
  5. #5
    Beth3 is offline Senior Member
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    Mar 2002
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    arunau, the UC issue boils down to a very simple one: Whether the ALJ believes you purposefully falsified a document or were so negligent in ensuring you did it properly that it constitutes willful misconduct, or whether it was just an honest mistake. Since you haven't explained how significant making that error was and what consequences ensued to the business or the clients, it's not possible to offer an opinion what an ALJ might conclude. Unless there was any benefit to you personally due to the error, it's hard to see it as willful misconduct though.

    I agree that you should not cancel the hearing. You have a right to appeal the decision and receive UC benefits if the State so decides. What you need to do is line up a number of other individuals as professional references who can attest to the quality of your work, your dedication, etc.
    A person, who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)

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