What can I expect from my ex-employer's unemployment appeal?

I was fired from my job on January 26th of this year. It was during an audit that my district manager fired me because as a cashier my drawer was turning up short quite a bit that month but I know for a fact that I wasn't stealing or miscounting the change to the customers. Well after being fired about a few weeks to I think a month the manager that was present the night I was terminated was then fired himself. Apparently after I was fired there was an investigation to see what was going on because I wasn't the only cashier that there drawer was short a few times but I wasn't like the others that would pay the difference of the drawer out of my own pocket because I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was told they caught that manager in the cameras stealing money and that’s why they fired him. So now my question would be since they caught the person or the "reason" of why I was fired why couldn't I get my job back? So I tried over and over to go back but I was always denied my return. At one point I was told I couldn't get my job back because once fired I couldn't be rehired. So I just let it be and tried looking for another job. Months passed and still no job so I had no choice but to apply for unemployment because I had things that needed to be paid. So on June 2nd I applied for unemployment and I was eligible and soon enough I was collecting unemployment. Then on June 21st I was told by one of the kitchen managers that the general manager received an e-mail from some lady asking him to give her more information on why I got fired. That day the kitchen manager also told me that she found out that when they filed my paperwork they put that I voluntarily quit. Five months since I was fired up to that date and not one person mentioned to me that "I quit," not a single person because no one even knew. This was something they decided to do because as of January 26th the words that came out of the district managers mouth that night was that I have to be terminated. So where do they get that I quit? Who knows. There’s cameras in that office. I'm pretty sure the tears flowing down my face aren't because I decided to quit. One of the managers from that store was moved to a new store to become general manager there. He's the only manager that has been trying to help me through all this. He was told some time after I got fired that once he had got his own store that he could rehire me at that location (this was before I knew that "I quit") So on June 23rd he e-mailed this lady to check my status to see if I can be rehired at his store. Then on June 25th he got a response saying that she said I can be rehired. Then on June 29th he even got the okay from corporate to rehire me. I thought everything was going great. I figured I would just drop my unemployment and start working again but then June 30th once again I get bad news. He called me to tell me that he couldn't rehire me because the district manager who fired me threatened him saying that if he hired me at his store that he'll get fired. So now to make matters worse I get a letter for an appeal hearing stating that my ex-employer says I voluntarily quit for personal reasons and that continued work was available. But how many times did I try going back and I was denied. You can ask anyone I worked with. They'll tell you how great of a worker I was. I was never involved in any problems, when they needed me I was always there, I was never written up, never got in trouble. I was with them for a year. I loved working there.

I have no proof or evidence that I was fired other then that manager that was there when it happened and he's best friends with the general manager who's pretty much starting this appeal so i highly doubt he'll take my side.I never signed any papers. The only thing they probably have against me is the paper where THEY put that i quit. But thats a false statement. I'm pretty sure they're just fighting this so there taxes wont go up. Is there anything I can do or say?

1 answer  |  asked Jul 22, 2011 1:33 PM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

Answers (1)

Phyllis Towzey
Under Florida law an employer has no obligation to rehire you, even if they later discover that you did not commit the acts they accused you of when they fired you.

With respect to your unemployment claim, was anyone else present when you were fired? If so, you could list that person as a witness, and notify unemployment that you want them to testify at your hearing. Does the person who wanted to hire you have direct knowledge that you were fired? He could testify for you, if he is willing.

You should be getting notice of a telephone hearing if your employer has appealed your award of unemployment benefits. Conversely, if there was a notice of determination from Unemployment denying you benefits you need to appeal it right away. You can do that online. You only have 20 days from the date of the determination to appeal.

Then a telephone hearing will be set up, and you will have the opportunity to testify and tell your side of the story, present any witnesses, and question the employer's witnesses. You can do this yourself, or you can hire a lawyer to represent you. If you hire a lawyer, make sure you get someone who routinely does these kinds of hearings, and find out up front what they charge because you will be responsible for paying your own legal fees. Since the company is apparently lying and you don't have any documents to use in evidence, I strongly recommend that you do hire an attorney to represent you.

If you lose the telephone hearing, you can appeal but you can't bring in any additional evidence, so it's best to get legal help now.

posted by Phyllis Towzey  |  Jul 22, 2011 1:45 PM [EST]

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