How can I best defend myself in an appeal for unemployment benefits whenmy ex-employer is wrongfullyclaiming misconduct?

I was denied unemployment benefits after being unexpectedly fired from a job. I was written up 2 times prior to the final for 2 unrelated things. The employer never followed up on the first issue as the write up states they were supposed to and then never completed my training. I was in a mid-level management position and the majority of the content of the write ups was staff complaint with no facts to back it up. I am appealing the decision and I want to know how to best defend myself. I feel as though this situation does not fit the legal definition of misconduct because there was no intent.

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no "legal" definition of "misconduct" for this purpose. If you had either an employment contract or there was some other strong written policy in place about discipline (e.g. an employee handbook, that laid out a definite disciplinary process and which did NOT have any "weasel words" or caveats allowing its policies to be changed at will or preventing them from being binding), then it may be the case that you could enforce those contractual terms: i.e. if you were not fired for caused under those documents, you would not be considered to be fired for cause. However, in the absence of some sort of a contract, if you did actions that an employer considers deserved termination for cause, it is very hard to fight them. That's not to say you shouldn't try to appeal it through the unemployment office or divisions appeals process; but that without a contract, any sort of insubordination, violence, harassment, violation of employer policy, etc. could probably be legimately defined as grounds for termination for cause.


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