Boss Speed Dials Ex-Worker’s Cell During Unemployment Hearing To Disrupt Testimony

I’ll give that boss credit.  It was clever, to a point.

In one of my firm’s recent, and successful, trials, the evidence showed that our client’s former boss – after finishing her part of a telephone hearing on our client’s claim for unemployment benefits – then began furiously dialing our client’s cell phone when it was her turn to speak.  The purpose of the robo-dialing was to distract our client and to prevent the hearing officer from hearing her answers.  I say “clever to a point” because the boss used her own cell number, which our client immediately recognized.  That part, not so clever.

Employers can be sued for interfering with an employee’s claim for unemployment benefits.    This kind of lawsuit can be pursued a few different ways.

If the employer’s motive in interfering with the unemployment claim is to retaliate against the employee for speaking out about discrimination or harassment, the employee can sue for retaliation.

And in cases where the employer’s motive isn’t retaliation but, instead, is just to save money by providing false information to cause the denial of benefits, the employee can sue the employer for defamation.  Defamation merely requires the making of a false statement about another that a third party relies on and that causes harm.  If, for example, an employer falsely claims an employee did something, and that falsehood results in the denial of unemployment benefits, the employee can sue the employer in court.  Recoverable damages can include not only the lost benefits but also substantial additional damages intended to punish the employer for the misstatements.

No one will ever get rich on unemployment benefits.  But for unemployed families that check can mean the difference between having food or not, or having housing or not.  An employer that stands in the way of such critical benefits deserves to be punished.

Jim Garrity

Employee Rights Lawyer

(800) 663-7999

 

 



Categories: Unemployment

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