Can I collect unemployment after being fired for gossiping?
Updated : September 23rd, 2022
“Can I collect unemployment if I have been fired for gossiping in the workplace?”
Posted by Missing My Job (Indiana)
A few weeks ago, I was fired for supposedly “gossiping” in my office. I worked for an elderly assisted living home as a receptionist. Our senior marketing director all of a sudden was no longer with my company. Because I was the receptionist and fielded calls, it was important for me to know that this individual was no longer with the company and where to direct her incoming calls.
Shortly after her leaving, the Executive Director came to me and stated “She is no longer with the company. Please direct all of her calls to my office.”
Her absence was obvious, and thus had the office talking. One of the managers in my workplace had spoken with the laid off/fired individual the night that she was laid off/fired, and shared this information with many of the managers in our office. No one was written up or fired.
Two days after the Marketing Director was laid off/fired, I stated to a manager I worked closely with that she was “no longer with the company.” I exactly quoted what was told to me by our Executive Director, and did not think anything of the situation. The next day, I was fired for this supposed gossip.
I had been with the company three years, and I had once before been written up for gossiping. I had stated something that someone had told me in confidence, however, I did not know it was in confidence. Regardless, I took my written warning and straightened up my behavior. Obviously, in these times, I would never have put my job in danger. All of my yearly reviews were excellent. The Office Manager always stated how I did more than was asked and got along with everyone and that I caused no trouble at all.
I applied for unemployment, ready to fight if denied. I was sent my denial letter, and obviously, I have chosen to appeal. My letter states that I was “discharged for just cause; a knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced policy.”
My issue is that I was not treated fairly in this case. Yes, I do understand and take full responsibility for the first incident that occurred that I was written up for. However, I was never verbally warned any, just written up. I don’t deny that, and I agree – I was wrong. However, in 3 years at my company, I had worked for 4 Executive Directors, and rules changed constantly. Under the Executive Director that terminated me, he held several meetings with the Managers (i.e. anyone BUT hourly workers) and verbally warned them several times about gossiping in the workplace. I do not feel by saying someone was no longer with the company was gossiping. No one else had been fired for gossiping in the office.
After I was fired, a family member of a resident that lived in our facility called me and stated she spoke with the Executive Director and said that she missed me being around. The Executive Director replied “Well, there is more to the story than you know.” She then had to speak with the Office Manager for unrelated reasons, and the Office Manager greeted her by saying, “Well, I’ve heard you been talking to the Executive Director about our former receptionist.” The family member also stated that the Executive Director had a meeting with all of the residents living in the facility and told them that I had moved on from the company on my own accord. I’ve asked her to help me in my appeal for unemployment, but she feels that her mother could be mistreated in the facility because of her standing up for me in my fight. I don’t understand how this situation is not gossiping, but mine was.
I am appealing the unemployment denial, but because of this family member not wanting to pin herself to the situation, do you think I even stand a chance? I know at this point, it’s my story verses my former employer’s.
The real kicker? There will be a new Executive Director at my company who will more than likely be sent to the hearing who has never met me and who doesn’t know the story.
Well, I ended up being denied by the ALJ. She stated in her letter that the 11 “warnings” against me were justified and that I knew of each one of them, which again, is a lie.
I guess my frustration is how can I prove these are lies? Only 2 warnings – my first and my termination – were ever presented to me. I can’t ask any of my former co-workers whom are still friends to be my witnesses because they have been told by the ED to not speak to me. In fact, the night of my hearing, I got a call from a former manager that state she KNEW of my hearing because everyone spoke about it.
I do admit that I did tell one of the manager’s about the girl no longer being with the company. However, another manager claimed during my hearing and in a letter that I told her. The judge said she’d only use the person I told the “gossip” to if she needed a rebuttal.
The woman I told NEVER even spoke at the hearing.
Part of me wants to appeal, and the other part of me just wants to be done with the company. Unfortunately, times are tough and I really do need the benefits to provide for my family. However, I am up against a bunch of liars and an ED who even admitted policies changed from ED to ED. I feel like I’m backed against a wall. They have all of these supposed “communication logs” that were never presented to me, and that I had never even seen or known I was verbally warned until I received the packet for the hearing.
Here’s to hoping I find a new and better job with people who treat me well!
Thanks again for all your help and advice.
Sorry to hear it. There might be a basis for an appeal, but the next appeal is an entirely different kind of appeal.
It probably would not do any good because you had subpoena rights .. regardless of what the employer told people about talking to you .. they can’t stop them from appearing by order of a subpoena. It’s irrelevant now because you had that right and didn’t exercise it.
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