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Old 07-13-2014, 12:57 AM
 
16 posts, read 16,360 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello All. I am located in California.

As the title states, I've been with my former company for quite some time. I have a phone interview coming up and would appreciate any feedback as I've never collected unemployment.

I am a cashier and one day my register was off balanced. I had a feeling during mid day that I may be out of balance but I was always trained to address it at the end of shift and not at that moment so that the line would not build up and lead to poor customer service ratings.

At the end of my shift I counted my till and sure enough it was out of balance. I asked for a supervisor to assist me because management was gone for the day and we went through all the transactions. I suggested it might have been one transaction I made a mistake and she went through it over and over and felt it might be true. So she reversed the transaction which made me balance.

Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by management and loss prevention. They had footage of us doing the transaction and wanted me to explain the situation. I told them everything I just stated here in the message. The conversation must've lasted well over an hour and they wanted me to write it down on a piece of paper, sign and date. They basically accused me of theft but after the interview security determined it was not theft but a mistake and I must've paid out a customer twice. As far as I know i was clear.

I went ahead and continued doing my job. The last time I was written up for anything was probably 8 years ago otherwise my performance during 15 years with the company has ranged from average to excellent. Fast forward a few months while I was working I noticed management wasn't so kind to me. I didnt think anything of it but as the day progressed they became more standoffish. So after lunch with only a couple of hours left on my shift I walked up to the main manager and asked if everthing was ok. Well, I was then escorted into the office with another manager present and they gave me my final paycheck and EDD packet. I was suprised. I thought everything was settled but I was told "due to further investigation we determined you violated code of ethics by force balancing and not following procedures, this has caused us to lose trust and confidence in you".

I asked them how was this my fault? I was listening to a supervisor who told me it was ok. I had no idea it was still being investigated. Well apparently, security cleared me but HR decided to terminated me. I'm so disappointed by the way this was handled. Management gave me the option to quit or be terminated. I asked about unemployment and they said if I agreed to be terminated then I would qualify for unemployment but if I decided to quit then I would not be eligible. So I took signed for termination. I know my job isn't difficult but I really enjoyed it and the people.

I received the "award" letter and submitted the bi weekly claim forms online. Now I have a phone interview. From what I've read some members say their interview was quick and some said it lasted an hour. Again, I've never applied for unemployment and I know these guys will do their hardest NOT to pay you. I read that I should keep it short and simple but the interviewers may continue to dig. I do not want to have to be denied or go to appeals for "saying too much". There are only 4 questions.

1. The reason you left the company. (is this assuming I decided to quit)
2. Why I am no longer working there.
Answer" I was terminated for violating code of ethics, force balancing, and not following proper procedures. (this was the wording in my short letter of termination)

3. Were you warned that my actions could result in being fired?
Answer: No, during my entire stint at the company I was trained early on to address any off balancing issues at the end of shift with a supervisor so as to not affect customer service.

4. When were you warned
A. I was never warned.
--To add on to Question #4: I had a thought and I don' know if I was set up but usually managment gives a group pep talk before the start of a shift and have people acknowledge it by signing. Most of the time this gets neglected and we certainly did not have one that day when my incident happened. Fast forward months later one week prior to my termination management came around asking staff to acknowledge a pep talk but it was BACK DATED in the same month my incident happened. This is completely out of the ordinary and I have never seen this happened before. The pep talk did talk about the proper procedures to do if an incident like mine ever happened as well as the ramifications. Would this be considered an answer of YES I was warned? All Employees are also required to take a refresher course on company policy annually but neither stated I am NOT to listen to my supervisor.

I apologize if this is long. I am inexperienced with California Unemployment interview process. Are my answers good enough? Should I not elaborate on question#4 as I did here? What other topics will they ask me? Will they ask me about my current job search? Where I have applied? How many hours a week I dedicate to searching? Am I suppose to just apply for anything becuase it takes me a lot of time to do research on a company and the positions before I consider applying. So yes, I am searching but No I have not applied. Would this negatively impact my unemployment insurance?

I really appreciate your feedback and will respond back in a timely matter.
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:32 AM
 
14,508 posts, read 26,125,653 times
Reputation: 2562
1. Fired
2. Fired
3. Yes
4. 8 years ago.

Please do not tell this story. It sounds bad on it's face. If you don't get benefits from the deputy, you can do it on appeal. The thing is when you count enough cash or do enough transactions, you're going to make a mistake. However, if the words "violating code of ethics, force balancing, and not following proper procedures" come out of your mouth, it just won't go well.

You have to understand that there is always the chance that the employer won't respond, they'll respond late, or they'll say something not nearly as bad as you'll say it, so make your life easy and let the employer do what they are going to do so you won't have to try to phrase things differently at your hearing.

The deputy is only concerned with why you aren't working there anymore. All that other stuff will only become an issue if you make it an issue by talking. Just get the person off the phone as quickly as possible. If the deputy happens to talk to your employer first, deny it because all you really did was "make a mistake" However, don't say that just say, "it never happened like the employer is telling you."
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:22 AM
 
469 posts, read 559,006 times
Reputation: 1028
Keep it simple and do not over explain or go into detail. That is how your ex-employee does things or what they consider a violation but it is not a world wide policy it is just that companies policy. Answer as Chyvan said to and that is it.
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:46 AM
 
16 posts, read 16,360 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chyvan View Post
1. Fired
2. Fired
3. Yes
4. 8 years ago.

Please do not tell this story. It sounds bad on it's face. If you don't get benefits from the deputy, you can do it on appeal. The thing is when you count enough cash or do enough transactions, you're going to make a mistake. However, if the words "violating code of ethics, force balancing, and not following proper procedures" come out of your mouth, it just won't go well.

You have to understand that there is always the chance that the employer won't respond, they'll respond late, or they'll say something not nearly as bad as you'll say it, so make your life easy and let the employer do what they are going to do so you won't have to try to phrase things differently at your hearing.

The deputy is only concerned with why you aren't working there anymore. All that other stuff will only become an issue if you make it an issue by talking. Just get the person off the phone as quickly as possible. If the deputy happens to talk to your employer first, deny it because all you really did was "make a mistake" However, don't say that just say, "it never happened like the employer is telling you."
Hi Chyvan!

I'm glad I received an response from a senior member. Could you give me you thoughts on the following:

Question #3 Were you warned that your actions could result in termination?
I would think the answer is No, because I was just following orders from a supervisor. To my knowledge I did not force balance because I got the "go ahead" from the supervisor. Had I don't this on my own accord then I could see how I was in the wrong and it would be considered forced balancing.

Question #4. When were you warned?
My write up 8 years ago was a performance issue because employees are suppose to process a certain amount of transactions per hour and I was not doing it fast enough. It had nothing to do with balancing. Which is why I figure I would say, " I was never warned"

On another note. It seems like if I keep it short and simple. I read that the interviewer will continue to dig or try to rephrase a question, basically tricking you. If all goes accordingly How long should I expect it to last?

What happens if they ask me to read my termination letter?

Ok, assuming the deputy spoke to my employer first and they give a totally different interpretation, I should not say that I ,"made a mistake" I should say ,"It never happened like the employer is telling you". But if I say that then wouldn't that lead into ,"ok well tell me your side of the story"?

PS: I should note that the managers who terminated me did feel it was an unjust termination. They claimed they fought for me to stay but HR was not ok with it. I was the best and most liked employee there. I got along with everyone and customers loved me. I dont know if it was genuine but they did shed a few tears. I'm really glad I found this forum. A google search brought me here.
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Old 07-13-2014, 12:27 PM
 
14,508 posts, read 26,125,653 times
Reputation: 2562
If you never had a warning about this same type of thing, then you can change your answer to "No," and "Never." It's not "any" warning. It means a warninng about doing what you did.

The problem with saying you had permission is that you have to admit to it, and then say you had permission. Now, what if the person that gave you permission says, "I don't remember doing that," or just outright lies and says, "No way did I do that."? Trust me, don't tell this story. You want to go down the path that you are clueless as to why you were let go. You can save all the other stuff for the time of the hearing if necessary.

EDD doesn't know you got a termination letter. They won't ask you to read it. They'll ask you to fax it in, but they'll only do that unless you tell them you got a letter.

Sure the deputy might dig, but we can't predict every question they are going to ask. You stick to your story. that you were fired (that's one word). Don't take the bait and add more unless you already typed in a "reason" on your application for benefits, then that is what you have to go with.

Sure your managers might not throw you under the bus, but you don't know who will be responding to EDD. At this point you are only establishing that you were discharged, so that if the employer doesn't do things right, you'll get benefits because there is no evidence of misconduct. Don't do like so many others and make it so that you get denied by what comes out of your own mouth.
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:14 PM
 
16 posts, read 16,360 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chyvan View Post
If you never had a warning about this same type of thing, then you can change your answer to "No," and "Never." It's not "any" warning. It means a warninng about doing what you did.

The problem with saying you had permission is that you have to admit to it, and then say you had permission. Now, what if the person that gave you permission says, "I don't remember doing that," or just outright lies and says, "No way did I do that."? Trust me, don't tell this story. You want to go down the path that you are clueless as to why you were let go. You can save all the other stuff for the time of the hearing if necessary.

EDD doesn't know you got a termination letter. They won't ask you to read it. They'll ask you to fax it in, but they'll only do that unless you tell them you got a letter.

Sure the deputy might dig, but we can't predict every question they are going to ask. You stick to your story. that you were fired (that's one word). Don't take the bait and add more unless you already typed in a "reason" on your application for benefits, then that is what you have to go with.

Sure your managers might not throw you under the bus, but you don't know who will be responding to EDD. At this point you are only establishing that you were discharged, so that if the employer doesn't do things right, you'll get benefits because there is no evidence of misconduct. Don't do like so many others and make it so that you get denied by what comes out of your own mouth.


Thank you for the clarification. For my particular situation, where i was out of balanced, had a supervisor re-balance my till, go through my transactions, determined it was an error, and approved the reversal of the transaction. Then "No, i was never warned" would be appropriate answer because this was the first time something like this has ever happened. I wasn't given any warnings, it just went straight to termination.

**I should note that the supervisor was also terminated.**

Would EDD ask if I received a termination letter? (I did receive one)

In order to avoid having to fax in my letter, would it be appropriate to say, "I was shocked as to what had happened and to be quite honest I do not remember anything after being told what I did was against company code of conduct. I recall being handed my final check and the EDD paperwork."

Oh! I did type in a "REASON" on my application which was, "I reversed a transaction under supervision which was against company code of conduct. Both of us were terminated"

Thank you again Chyvan for your responses. It is a lot of help.
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
23,548 posts, read 50,140,471 times
Reputation: 18192
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzmatazz00 View Post
Oh! I did type in a "REASON" on my application which was, "I reversed a transaction under supervision which was against company code of conduct. Both of us were terminated"
You should have stopped at 'supervision.'

Now you may have to undo the completely unnecessary statement of "which was against company code of conduct" which brings up the issue of a rules violation - which is misconduct and grounds for denial.

Do your best to overcome this at your interview only if the interviewer catches this statement and brings it up. Interviewers, generally, will not find favorably when a rules violation is involved - no matter you followed instructions from a supervisor. They leave those decisions for the ALJ's to sort out at appeal.

Should you need to appeal, know that CA ALJs are claimant-friendly. Since this is a one-time unintentional occurrence with no previous warning you should win the appeal if it comes to that.

Last edited by Ariadne22; 07-13-2014 at 04:04 PM..
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:06 PM
 
16 posts, read 16,360 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariadne22 View Post
You should have stopped at 'supervision.'

Now you have to undo the completely UNNECESSARY statement of "which was against company code of conduct" which brings up the issue of a rules violation - which is misconduct and grounds for denial.

Do your best to overcome this at your interview if the interviewer catches this statement. Interviewers, generally, will not find favorably when a rules violation is involved - no matter you followed instructions from a supervisor. They leave those decisions for the ALJs to sort out at appeal.

Should you need to appeal, know that CA ALJs are claimant-friendly. Since this is a one-time occurrence with no previous, warning you should win the appeal.
Hello Ariadne22

I've never filed for EDD and wasn't aware of keeping it simple. I thought I was doing the right thing by being honest. I'm sure the interviewer will bring this up as this was what I typed out as the reason.

How would you recommend I over this should the interviewer question me?

Would merely saying, "I was shocked as to what had happened and I do not remember anything after being told what I did was against company code of conduct. I recall being handed my final check and the EDD paperwork."

I appreciate your feedback.
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
23,548 posts, read 50,140,471 times
Reputation: 18192
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzmatazz00 View Post
How would you recommend I over this should the interviewer question me?

Would merely saying, "I was shocked as to what had happened and I do not remember anything after being told what I did was against company code of conduct. I recall being handed my final check and the EDD paperwork."
Emphasize you were following instructions from your supervisor, had no knowledge she was instructing you incorrectly, nor, in fact, did you know there was a rule governing this particular procedure as you had never received anything from the company on its rules relating to this procedure.
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:40 PM
 
14,508 posts, read 26,125,653 times
Reputation: 2562
To bolster Ariadne22's statement, because this was the very first time you'd ever needed assistence with this type of error, it really backs up the assertion that you wouldn't have known about this rule because it never came up in all your prior 15 years.
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