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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I have an unemployment interview this Friday and I need help

Customer Question

I have an unemployment interview this Friday and I need help to know how I can go about showing them that I am truly eligible for benefits. Here is the situation: I was fired in October 2011 for being late to a night shift as a unit coordinator at a hospital/office. This all happened after extreme discrimination by my boss. I was given unfair scheduling, my promotion was randomly taken away, and she asked me to retake a test that I did well on simply because she did not believe that I did well despite another manager verifying it (and many more things.) I took this to HR but unfortunately I had to take it to them while also defending my position because the day after all of the harassment came to a climax I was late to work (August 2011 evening shift) because of all the stress from my boss and inability to sleep. After weeks of administrative leave, they did not fire me and said they would not count my lateness as a "no show" and they gave me back the promotion I was supposed to have. The second late situation in October was due to (I believe) retaliation from my boss because despite being told by her boss that she needed to let me be a part of the self scheduling that I missed while on administrative leave, she did not allow me. Therefore I had to create a non ideal schedule by switching with a coworker. Longer story to that part. Anyway they fired me after that last one stating that I was warned not to do it again and I did. I was then denied unemployment which I did not apply for until January 2012 because after being fired I was completely depressed (seeing doctor for this) and knew that I would not be emotionally able to deal with the appeal process because of all the horrible memories and stress it would bring up with my boss. I went through the appeal process and won on April 19. The judge stated "The employer failed to meet its burden of proving that the claimant intentionally disregarded the employer's interest. The claimant's action therefore does not constitute misconduct under unemployment law. The claimant was discharge for reasons other than misconduct connected with her most recent work. Accordingly, she is qualified for benefits under code section 1256." I did not think I would win the hearing despite having tons of proof that my firing was not fair but I did win. I had been filling out the claim forms prior to the April ruling and had been looking for full time work but had not applied to places directly for various reasons. One being most places hiring unit coordinators were at my old employers, I did not feel like I could put my unit coordinator position on resume since I was fired and also feared my boss would retaliate with any inquires from potential employers, and despite being able to work I was having a lot of emotional issues being able to actually apply and deal with the massive amounts of paper work that came in from unemployment. So my question to you is, what can I do on this interview. Initially, I was told that there would be an appeal for two specific weeks where I was told to note being out of town. I was only out for part of those two weeks but was denied for both of them. That is now in an appeal process. Then out of no where I found out about this other interview that I missed and did not know about and about what seems to be all of my eligibility at risk. I don't k now if the interview is only about the past before the appeal therefore retroactive benefits or about my eligibility forever…they couldn't/wouldn't answer me on that over the phone. I assumed that if they denied my forms from prior to winning the appeal that they would at least accept them after when I filled them out correctly/with more detail but they have stopped sending me any forms and said that that is what the interview is for. Ultimately I feel like they are penalizing me for prior to winning appeal. I could have not filled out any forms and just waited until winning and then started my claims but I filled them out as best I could during those few months before winning. I would like to be able to receive my benefits during that time because I was actually looking but at least I would like to be able to receive my benefits from winning the hearing on out. Now that I can put the job on my resume, I have had a better ability to apply to jobs in my recent health field and others. Prior to being fired my most recent job was in 2006 because I was in art school from 2006-2009 so after being fired I felt unhireable in the health and office field because I had nothing to show for it. I am worried that they will deny me of future benefits despite me being able to now actually apply to jobs in my field. I don't feel like I knew enough about what they needed from me first time around and now I was wondering if you could give me advise on how to approach this interview and do you believe that a note from my doctor explaining the situation would be helpful to explain my job (cont.)

search process from January until I won my appeal in April.

I missed an interview with them on April 6th because I didn't know about it.  Just like my interview this Friday, I was not notified about it in enough to time to plan and be available.  I only know about my interview this Friday because I called for another question and they alluded to it.  On their website I asked for another interview after I figured out that I missed the one in April.  Having some insight to what they are wanting to hear from me and what I need to present would be helpful. Based on the last one that I missed, these are the questions they are interested in knowing the answers to:  What kind of work are you trying to find, what work experience or training do you have for this kind of work? Are there any reasons you could not go to work if a job was offered (unacceptable wages, hours, shifts, distance, no license, etc.)?  Did you contact any employers to apply for work? What kind of work did you apply for and what were the results? If you did not contact any employers, why not? If you are a union member, did you contact your union to register for work?

I hope that this makes sense.

Thank you for all the help you can give me.

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

What questions do you have regarding your situation?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well I need to know what they are looking to hear. I was hoping that who ever answered my question might know the EDD aspect of this. Meaning if I explain to them that I was actively looking (which I was) but not applying because of the pending appeal and the fact that I couldn't put the position I was fired from on resume, would that be acceptable. Also, if not would they accept a note or info from my doctor about why actually applying during that period was hard for me. And even if they deny my retroactive employement can they also deny my unemployment from the date I won my appeal onward.
Expert:  Joseph replied 5 years ago.
if you can explain that you were actively looking for work that should be sufficient.

However, I would advise against disclosing that you failed to apply to any positions while you were looking for work, since part of looking for work would include that you were applying for positions,

If you were to have a note from your doctor stating that you were unable to look for work that would work against you, since in order to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits you need to be ready and available to work.

That said, I'd strongly suggest that you don't mention that any medical problem may have deterred you from looking for employment.

If they deny your retroactive employment it could affect your unemployment from the date that you won your appeal and onward, but as long as you are currently looking for work, including applying for positions, it shouldn't affect your ability to receive benefits in the future.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hmmm So Joseph can I ask if you have had any direct experience with EDD. I couldn't find info on your background. Not asking to be insulting AT ALL but I really guess I wanted some more info on the EDD perspecitive. If you are a lawyer, have you had anyone be able to do what you say. Simply explaining that I have been looking. Is that enough? It seems like you are saying it is.

I ask because I can tell them like I did on the form that I have been looking on craigslist etc but haven't applied to any. My main reason is that there were not any jobs that I would fit into/qualified for especially since my recent position could not have been place on resume. In your experience is it reasonable/acceptable for them to accept that I have been looking but was not qualified but now that I have been able to comfortably apply to positions in my field (office work) I actually have employer names that I have contacted.

Have you had experience with someone being able to tell them that they were looking without a list of places they actually applied to or are you going on what you believe. I want to go into the interview prepared and as much as I appreciate your answer, I am not sure if just saying that I have been looking will be enough.

And why do you think/can they deny me for the future because of the past forms. I guess I was looking for specific answers from someone who might have had to deal with EDD directly.

I'm not sure if this is making sense.
Expert:  Joseph replied 5 years ago.
I have experience representing clients in unemployment hearings, and in dealing with EDD personally when I received unemployment benefits.

It depends on the circumstances, but normally EDD will require you to have a list of employers who you've applied to in order to demonstrate that you were looking for employment, but it isn't always a requirement for receiving benefits.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Okay this statement is really what I need you to expound on if possible. I hear you that you are saying just to say I was actively looking but I'm interested in what to say that would make it work.

"but it isn't always a requirement for receiving benefits."

For example, have you had situations where someone didn't have an employer listed but received benefits. I am not trying to cheat the system, I just seriously could find jobs to apply to that I was qualified for. I guess I need to know in your experience what are my options. I am feeling like I am not getting what I need but I can tell that you are trying. But I don't want to keep bothering you if you feel like this is it.

I want to know what I can do to prepare and if all I can say is that I was actively looking but I don't have an actual list from that time period then what are my options. And is it reasonable for them to understand that I was in limbo while waiting for appeal and that I wasn't qualified for jobs in my area because of the situation but that I was truly looking. Is this scenario one that you have experienced or am I just out of luck or possibly need to talk to someone who has maybe even worked at EDD. Thanks for trying. Maybe I didn't word my questions well.

Expert:  Joseph replied 5 years ago.
in most cases EDD does not require you to list names of potential employers that you've applied to, and will normally take your word for it that you are looking for work.

Unless EDD has specifically requested it, you won't need to have an actual list from the time that you were appealing, as long as you state that you were looking for work in that time period.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Okay now we are getting closer to what I needed to know. This is a lot more specific and is closer to the type of answer I need.

"you won't need to have an actual list from the time that you were appealing" Meaning, prior to April (winning of appeal) or after April? Can you explain that statement more? Are you saying that they are more likely to have wanted the list prior and not so much now (even though now I have a list.) They stopped sending me claim forms this month so I can even list them.

So you have experienced them not needing a list because I have written each time that I have been looking but didn't send apps to any of them. So I am wondering if what you say is true then why are they re-interviewing me and in your experience do you know what I can do or say in this interview to get that across.

Some things I was going to explain more was that the positions that I qualified for during that period before the appeal were not even close to enough money or that they were connected to my old employer (same hospital), or that they required more experience then in would have shown I had in this field both with or without my position being listed on my resume. I guess I am wondering in your experience what did someone/can someone do if they are in my situation. One might say that I should have just applied just to apply but I really did want a job in the same field. I had worked so hard to be good in that position and it was taken from me. Is this information I should share with the interview or is just telling them I WAS looking all I can/should do.

Expert:  Joseph replied 5 years ago.
I mean unless they specifically requested that you have a list of employers that you applied to, then you wouldn't need a list of employers.

However, if they have requested that you give them a list of employers that you've applied to, you probably would need to have that list in order to prevail on your claim.

Yes, unless they speciifcally requested that they need you to list employers that you've applied to, it's not necessary to have a list of employers in order to receive benefits.

I am unsure why they would re-interview you, but many times it is merely due to them not having received claim forms, so you shouldn't automatically expect the worst.

Yes, you can definitely explain the situation to them, but I would suggest you only do so if you are asked for the reasons why you didn't apply.

That definitely would be a good reason for not having applied, since you were searching for a job in the same field in which you had worked.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Would not being able to put the position on my resume be an understandable reason also because it looked like I had no prior experience. I would have left it on resume and just taken the risk that my boss would not retaliate but her history shows otherwise. All qualifying positions due to my skills learned at this job were off limits to me because it appeared that I had NO experience. And all other jobs I was qualified for like teaching and being self employed artist are no longer options. Teaching because last time I did was over 7 years ago and art would only have been part time. I guess I am wondering is to my benefit to mention the resume issue. Now I can confidently put it on my resume because I can explain that I was not fired due to misconduct.
Expert:  Joseph replied 5 years ago.
that would be a good issue to bring up, since that is a valid explanation for why you didin't apply to jobs in your field, and an explanation for why you can do so now.

However, I would shy away from stating that you did not look for employment at all during that time, since that could disqualify you from receiving benefits.