Unemployment benefits being denied, Wrongful Term, No COBRA offered

Hello there.
I was terminated from my position as a general store manager for a large retail chain after 6 years of excellent performance reviews. I never received a single written warning or disciplinary action. The company paid to relocate me from my home in Pittsburgh, PA to manage a very large store in Woodbridge, VA. This was a huge promotion, and evidence of my performance.
I was terminated on 9/19/2010, the District Manager told me that I was being fired because of a complaint made by a customer. The customer claimed that I placed my hands on her and forcefully removed the merchandise she was holding. This claim is untrue. The other employees that witnessed the conversation between the complaining customer and myself submitted written witness statements indicating that no physical altercation had occurred. I applied for Unemployment Benefits through Pennsylvania (as I had been forced to move back home.) Pennsylvania approved my claim and I received benefits for 6 months. Still unable to find employment I was advised by Pennsylvania DOL to seek benefits from the State of Virginia.
I submitted my initial claim and was approved for benefits. Several weeks later I received a letter from Virginia's Unemployment commission stating that a representative for my former employer was appealing the decision of my receiving benefits. The appeal was granted and my benefits revoked. In order for me to appeal this decision I have to file Petition for Judicial Review with the circuit court in Virginia.
The representative for my former employer claims that the incident involving my physically contacting the customer was video taped via the stores CCTV system. This statement cannot be true, as the conversation I had with the customer took place outside of the camera's viewing range. Also no evidence of this footage was ever presented to the Employment Commission.
I believe I was wrongly terminated and in addition I am being harassed for trying to claim benefits that are entitled to me.
Following my termination I waited 60 days to receive information to enroll in a COBRA plan, as I do have several medical conditions that require regular monitoring. After 60 days had passed I sent an email to my employers human resources department requesting information about COBRA. That and all further correspondences have been ignored.
I believe I only have 10 days to file this "Petition for Judicial Review" with the circuit court. Anyone that could offer advice on this matter would be so greatly appreciated. I know I am going to need to retain an attorney to assist me in this battle, but I'm simply not sure how to make the correct decisions.
Thank you again for your time!

0 answers  |  asked Sep 26, 2011 12:41 AM [EST]  |  applies to Virginia

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