Former employer is fighting my unemployment benefits – Now what?


I have had the awful experience of working with an dysfunctional employer as well as being in a hostile environment.  I have had so much rotten luck since I moved to Florida in 2005.  My husband died in 2003.   I really want to get of this state as fast as I can and RUN!

I lost my job in 2008 and got hired to work in social services as an assistant to the director in March 09.  I don’t have a social services background.  My background is in healthcare administration.  To make a long story short I will tell you the facts.

I am 56..boss 23.   I didn’t mind working for a younger person..I was happy to have a job.  My boss hired me March 26.  She had her baby April 9, 2009 and took 3 mos off of work.  I had very little training and got help now and then from other social workers for a few hours a week.  It was rough.  Most people thought I would quit and I did not.

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The boss came back mid June.  I followed her instructions on what to do.  I never received a Dept policy book to review and sign.  I never received a performance review of any kind.  However, she was trying to write me up for things she told me to do.  I never went above her to complain.  I was trying to resolve things on my own.  I am never one to rat on anyone or whine and complain.  I was just thankful to have a job.  I had lost a job a year earlier after a 3 year gig at another facility due to this rotten enconomy.

She kept trying to do me in and rebutted her comments showing I was doing my job.  I refused to sign her last notice of writing me up as it was lies..so she let me go. 

I started collecting unemployment in January.  I got a letter in today’s mail that they want to do an appeal over the phone on March 5th.   I don’t understand this appeal as I did not have enough time to collect unemployment benefits against this employer.  I only worked for them for 9 mos. I worked for the previous employer 3 years.  I had collected unemployment from the previous employer before I was hired in March 09 in Social Services.  This is all very confusing to me.

Even so, I need someone in my corner as I did not do anything wrong. This director made comments to me that she was “covering her ass” and that I was used while she was gone on maternity leave.  she also made comments that “a bunch of bitches work here” which later she turned out to be one herself.

I have never EVER worked in such a dysfunctioinal job in my 20 years in in healthcare.  This is the worst job I ever had..PERIOD.

The letter states that I did not follow policy and procedures but everything that was given to me was pretty much verbally.  Why did they keep me for 9 mos..hmmm?  Sounds too fishy to me.

Why did it take them 9 mos to figure out I wasn’t what they wanted.  Now I face this hearing on March 5th.  The problem is I am in a right to work state…and I don’t see how any attorney is going to be able to help me.  I called one today.  I am in no postion to pay back that money as I am already hanging on a thread.

My former employer called me for for phone interview at at a major university I worked at in another state.  I am ready to go back.  I don’t care about my house anymore.  I don’t care about stuff!  I have a girlfriend in that state who is welcoming me with open arms..and I feel weird about it as I never had to do this as I am a very self sufficient woman.  I will do what I need to do, though.

How do you guys think I should handle this appeals hearing.  The letter said they are bringing witnesses. There are no witnesses.  It was just me and the director. I need someone to be in my corner and furthermore a phone interview is not sitting well with me.  I need to a face to face meeting.  Even though this is a right to work state I feel I am wronged!  I have letters of recommendation about my previous character and how the great work I did in my former jobs.

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This is very wrong and I am not sure what to do.  I placed a call with an attorney.  The lesson I learned was I should have went to HR when this stuff started.  I am not use to this kind of behavior in the work place as I am a get along go along gal and never cause problems at work. 

I need some advice!


Posted in work & money.

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9 Responses

  1. Generic Image Jender says

    What is the purpose of the phone interview?

    Is there a legal requirement to comply?

    Go where you’re wanted

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  2. Jackie Brown Jackie Brown says

    Beach, get out of Florida, you’ve had nothing but trouble since moving there.

    I can’t imagine what the unemployment appeal is about. You were fired from the last job, correct? You were fired for refusing to sign a performance review? Please. Based on my next-to-nothing knowledge of unemployment, that firing should be sufficient for your claim. You can’t be forced to sign a disputed document. Don’t worry.

    If they do decline your benefits, I think you can register for unemployment in your new state once you make the move.

    Move and get happy.

    1 like

  3. Lynnette Lynnette says

    fight it.  I live in Florida and the whole state laws stink.  They are counting on you not showing up.  Do not let them get away w/it.  Florida is an employer state, however, there are times when u can win.  My husband won on a case similar to this by just showing up.

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  4. teril teril says

    I live in Indiana, an “at will employment” state where you can be terminated for no reason, which I was last March.  I worked in State government for an elected official.  I had questioned some decisions and the fact that the decisions seemed to be in direct conflict with state law.  Days after I posed my questions I was told that it was determined that my services were no longer required.  They did not fight my receiving unemployment. 

    I know in Indiana an employer has the right to appeal a claim for unemployment and just because they appeal does not mean that you are not entitled to continue to receive benefits.  Some employers use the appeal process to intimidate former employees and often cases are found for employers because the employee does not show up for the hearings.   I know that in some instances having an attorney with you can cause more harm than good.  At one point I was fired from a job and the employer appealed my receiving unemployment benefits.  I was married at the time and my husband worked for the office of workforce – the agency that handles unemployment benefits for IN, he is still employed there.  When the former employer came to the hearing they brought their attorney, I was alone, the first thing the attorney said was he wanted to make sure that the fact that my spouse worked for the agency that I wouldn’t be given any preferential treatment.  Not a good move because the hearing official asked if he was implying that she couldn’t be impartial, not a good way for the hearing to start.  In some, not all, cases the hearing officials are lawyers who were not successful in private practice and have accepted a government job.  Yes I know that is a very negative outlook on government employees and  having been one I know that there are some who are truly good but many just do as little as possible. … sorry for the tirade. 

    I wouldn’t worry about the hearing just stay as calm as possible and remember you have done noting wrong.  It will be up to the employer to provide proof that you were terminated with just cause and as long as they are unable to provide any documentation that you knowingly violated policy you should be fine.  It is just a hassle and I am so sorry that you are facing this.  Hang in there,   

    1 like

    • teril teril says

      I would also suggest that you check out the Agency for Workforce in Florida for information on your rights, benefits & the appeal process.  Sometimes knowing what to expect will help calm your nerves.   

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  5. Generic Image toolgirl820 says

    I would not give this up!  Many employers try to intimidate you into letting it go.  I would continue to persue this.  They are betting that you’re a good person and will let it go.  Go to the end with it and MAKE THEM JUSTIFY LETTING YOU GO!  Even if you don’t win you are making them do the work to justify their actions and you’ll get some satisfaction from finding out why they did it and you won’t doubting yourself abilities in the future.  I did the same thing four years ago for an employer I worked for for 35 years!!!! They had another company buy them out and since they didn’t need mid-management people they found “other” reasons to get rid of people.  Like you, if I did not do a good job why would I have worked there for 35 years.  Then once I was let go they had the gall to deny me unemployment benefits.  I could kick myself now for not pursuing it further because I know I could have won.  Please don’t make the same mistake I did.  Make them justify their actions.  Too many people aren’t willing to fight for what’s theirs anymore.  We’ve gotta get that back.  We need to get feisty or the bad guys are gonna keep winning.

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    • Generic Image pennycakes jones says

      Thank you for your post. it really made my day. won a phone hearing against my temp agency and they left a message on my answering machine same day, saying regardless of the decision that she (the temp agency rep) will appeal it.. I know they are trying to bully me into quitting but my father said just keep at it and don’t count on anything, then if you win you win, if you lose it doesn’t feel like you lost because you didn’t expect anything anyway..

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      • Generic Image toolgirl820 says

        Good for you!  Keep me posted!  I love it when the good, honest people win!  And I’m glad there are a few around who are still willing to fight for what they’re entitled to.  So many people give in so quickly.  That’s what many employers count on and they usually win because of it.  That makes them more likely to do it again to some other poor soul.  Make sure you keep your documentation because it may come to a hearing where you have to meet and present your facts against the employer.  I doubt they have good documentation if your boss was gone for maternity leave for a while.  You’re dad sounds like a very smart man.   Hang in there and keep me posted.   You’ll be in my thoughts.

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  6. teril teril says

    How was the hearing?

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