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Old 05-08-2014, 02:19 PM
 
9 posts, read 7,707 times
Reputation: 15

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First of all thanks for everyone taking the time to read this. I've visited the board a few times and always found valuable information here.

On April 10, 2014 I was suspended from work for using someone else employee code without authorization. New policy is about a year old where we receive a specific discount code that can be used online to buy products the company makes.

Here's the part of the policy I was let go for. I had never been warned or reprimanded on the policy.

The employee discount program should only be used to purchase products and gifts for oneself, and one’s family and close friends. It is not allowed to share your discount code with anyone. Only COMPANY employees should place orders on the websites using their discount information. Additionally, this program is not intended for use for resell. Employees purchasing products through this program should not resell any product or return it in a manner in order to make a profit. Anyone found abusing this privilege is subject to loss of employee purchase privileges and possible further disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

On 4/10 i had a meeting HR and my direct boss. HR was building a case of unauthorized use of employee purchase codes. There were three instances that they had specifically addressed.

The first instance happened 9/13. I was showing a coworker how to do some stuff on google chrome. I had signed into google chome on his laptop and did what ever I was showing him. Later that night while relaxing on the couch I picked up my tablet and ended up buying something from the company store. When I was entering the order google auto filled my coupon code and my order was complete like any other time. I didn't think anything of it. A few months pass and I receive an email from the employee purchase program rep asking how I used a coworkers discount code. I quickly fire off an email stating I haven't, but am curious as to what happened. During the email exchange the Employee purchase rep suggests that the code could have been stored on the computer, which reminds me of the google autofill option. I explain how it could have happened when I was logged into my coworkers google crhome and he bought something from the company store. There were no write ups or warning given and it seemed like the issue was resolved. I do still have my emails of this conversation.

Over the holiday season I had used up most of my code uses with family and friends. I didn't notice it till I was going to make another purchase and my code no longer worked. I sent an email to our Employee purchase program rep request a list of all my purchases. I received the list of purchases and noticed some of the names listed that I wasn't too privy of and even say this on the email replay back to the rep. I also ask when the next discount codes will be available. No words of wisdom or hey why are there so many different name on the list of your purchases. When I did extend my discount to friends or family I'd enter my code in my tablet or phone and let whoever was buying stuff to enter in their address and credit card info. I did some research I found out some family when a little crazy with purchases during thanksgiving. Oh well you live and learn. I was always hounded for my discount. I have a few print outs from coworkers where their order history looks the same way. One of the print outs is even from the above instance and when I look at that one my coworker has only placed one of his orders.

Around December I wanted to get my family and few things and asked a coworker if I could use is discount. He said yeah and let me use to buy a few things for the gf, Mom and sister. I enter all my own information name address, I wasn't trying to hide anything because I received authorization. However during my initial meeting with HR they said that my coworker never gave me authorization. I did end up talking to my coworker who've I still have a good business relationship with. He stated that HR did talk to him but more about character questions and they he wouldn't answer those about a coworker. He did say that he couldn't recall when he gave me authorization to use his discount, but did somewhat remember it.


HR said they would do another investigation and let me know of the findings. I was called in the next day and terminated. I wasn't surprised my out of office already said no longer with the company right after my suspension meeting. Their reasoning was that the computer auto fill issue could never happen and that they had followed up with IT about, that my other coworker never gave authorization. The coworker said he was never re-questioned by HR. And that because my name was only listed once for my purchases that I had either been stealing codes and or abusing the program. Which just isnt true! I did write on the discharge papers that I didn't agree with the assessment. I noticed that only discharge was being listed as why I was let go.

Anyhow I finally received noticed that I was denied unemployment due to a reasonable rule. For the phone interview the lady keep telling me I was talking to much, but wanted to provide my side of what happened. I should have probably did more research here. Originally I thought I was going to able to receive unemployment as I did send an email to my old employer asking for my employee file and if I would be eligible for unemployment. My Employee file was sent via email, no documentation of the the investigation they did on me. Not sure if they need to include it. In the body of the email though the hr contact said I should be able to receive unemployment benefits.

The reason for the long post is what should i do to prep myself for the appeal process. Anything I should say, not say, provide as evidence? I live in CA.


thanks

Last edited by westworld9; 05-08-2014 at 02:46 PM..
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:51 PM
 
2,285 posts, read 2,939,358 times
Reputation: 3656
I'm not sure there's anything that you'll be able to do here. It's pretty clear that you repeatedly violated the policy, even after being warned and investigated.

If you've told the same story above to EDD, that's going to be really tough to overcome.

The key to any appeal for you is going to be:

1. What is on record with EDD. Like I said, if you've told them the above, you've pretty much hung yourself. The next time even the claims examiner tells you to stop talking so much - do so.

2. What the employer provides. If they provide evidence during your appeal hearing, make sure you get a copy of it early enough to review and try to figure out how you'll get around it. If they no-show your hearing, ask to get anything theyve provided tossed as heresay. This will leave you only battling what you've already entered into the record.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:10 PM
 
9 posts, read 7,707 times
Reputation: 15
I was never warned or reprimanded. One instance was accidental, the other was authorized, and last issue is because I extended my discount to friends and family, which is what it is for. I apologize if I didn't explain that correctly. I wasn't trying to take advantage of anything. Even the hr person told me during my one and only meeting when I was suspended, that coworkers could extend their discounts to other coworkers.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
20,791 posts, read 41,427,990 times
Reputation: 14036
Quote:
Originally Posted by westworld9 View Post
I was never warned or reprimanded. One instance was accidental, the other was authorized, and last issue is because I extended my discount to friends and family, which is what it is for. I apologize if I didn't explain that correctly. I wasn't trying to take advantage of anything. Even the hr person told me during my one and only meeting when I was suspended, that coworkers could extend their discounts to other coworkers.
This isn't an issue of your employer contesting as much as it is an issue of a rules violation/misconduct, as it is defined in CA code. Usually, in these instances, especially because on its face there appears to be abuse, you would never be approved for benefits. An interviewer will not sort through the details but instead sends it on up to appeals.

If you can convincingly convey the above at your appeal, you have a reasonably fair chance of overturning the original decision. Fortunately, you are in CA. ALJs work very hard to find reasons to approve, not deny.

Important here is repeated and intentional abuses - you need to prove they weren't. CA is willing to forgive one-time and/or unintentional occurrences, so work on proving that.

Last edited by Ariadne22; 05-08-2014 at 05:56 PM..
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:50 PM
 
9 posts, read 7,707 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks for your comments. It's been a hectic few weeks. As for abuse of the policy, i thought i was acting with in its guidlines. I thought with the word should that I'd be OK letting friends and family complete some of the purchase credit card and address. This was how a lot of other coworkers did it. All of these events happened over a span of 2 months in 2013. The first time I heard anything about being in trouble was on 4/10, discharged 4/11.

I know other aspects of my employment don't come into play but in over 5.5 years with the company I had never been written up once and received high level awards.
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:03 PM
 
2,285 posts, read 2,939,358 times
Reputation: 3656
What you have stated and have on file with EDD will be very important. In the appeal, don't get into the "mistake" with the other employee's code.
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:21 PM
 
9 posts, read 7,707 times
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As in not bringing up?

Sent my appeal out today.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:45 PM
 
7 posts, read 11,717 times
Reputation: 10
You need to request or subpena a copy of their code policy. If it says it can be shared with close friends then you should be okay but you probably will need to subpena that coworker in as well for him/her to admit they let you use it and your a friend. That will seal the deal in your favor from my readings on how it works

Also depends on their evidence. If they dont bring evidence then it can work in your favor but you already opened your mouth to much.

If they try to bring up the coworker code issue and dont have him as a witness you probably can get that thrown out because you can cross examine him and it is hearsay f they dont have the paper work. This case is weird , you could had beat it easily but you opened you mouth to much, They need to prove YOU actually bought the item which would be hard without your word
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:54 PM
 
9 posts, read 7,707 times
Reputation: 15
Could I ask for transcript of my interview? I wasn't nearly as detailed here as I was on the inteteview. Basically the talking comment was explaining Google auto fill. Then that was authorized and I only provided family and friends with my discount.

Many thanks lovethecity.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:58 PM
 
9 posts, read 7,707 times
Reputation: 15
Just got off the phone with the appeals office to check status. Seems that the employer is not listed on the appeal, and that I'll be going to be between me and just the appeal judge. Is this common in California?
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