Was I fired with cause or not?
August 1, 2010 6:46 PM Subscribe
I was "let go" from work the other day - I had already been on probation due to a bad review. The review was full of incorrect statements, which I had proof of but I didn't put up a fuss. I was given requirements to fulfill to show improvement. I met those times 3. They let me go anyway. I said that I had gone way farther even than I was asked to in the requirements, so why are you letting me go? The reason was "The decision has been made." I want to know, is this considered with cause, and can I get unemployment? BTW this is in Mass.
posted by Astragalus to Work & Money (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I started there (as a quant developer on an interest rates trading desk) it was a new role, and they had no boss for me. I was constantly wondering what to do but I had a short list of projects so I worked on them until I basically ran of things to do. I would work on a project, improving it, until I was asked to do something else. I worked constantly and if I had nothing to do I would either come up with something or work more improving other stuff I'd done.
On my review I gave myself 3s out of 5s, "met expectations" - the traders whom I supported gave me all 1's (the worst possible) and said things like "I asked him to do this or that and he never did" - the things they referred to were sitting on my hard drive, done almost as soon as I was asked and waiting to be looked at. Traders of course don't have time for anything, but I would say "I did what you asked so come by when you want to check it out" and they often wouldn't. Other things they complained about were strange and vague like "he sometimes spaces out at meetings" - ok caught me there. Another was a project that they said took me months too long to complete. In fact it was complete and working within weeks, but this one trader would constantly ask me to add features, make trivial changes, etc., which I did. I asked him if he minded if I worked on other stuff in the meantime since it was working already working, but no. I was finally given a boss to whom I explained my situation and he was very sympathetic and gave me much better ratings.
Anyway after the review I was put on probation, and they said I had 90 days to improve and gave me list of projects and times I had to do to show improvement. 3 of the projects I had finished ages ago, and the rest of them I killed in about a fourth of the time allotted. I was also given another, direct boss to report to (not the nice guy) My boss complained that I would leave at 5, and sometime show up as late as 8:30. So I immediately started getting there at 8 sharp and leaving at 6. He complained that I would take breaks, in particular for lunch, so I stopped and skipped lunch. He then, amazingly, asked me to lie on my timesheets to say I was there only 40 hours a week even though I was required to work from 8-6 every day. I politely explained to him that I was non-exempt and that I was not comfortable lying, federal law, etc. He said do it anyway because he kept his own records and knew I worked longer and it was just a screw up that they had made me non exempt. The next day I messed up big time and put my alarm on radio instead of alarm and woke up at 11. I called him immediately, apologized profusely and offered to work till 9 to make up for the 3 hours. So I came in and he talked me in a way that was seriously beyond disrespectful. Of course I had made an honest mistake, the first time it had ever happened and I had been working 10 hrs a day for weeks before that.
After the way he talked to me I hit my limit and went up to HR to quit. Lucky for me, the HR guy wasn't in the office. So I worked the rest of the day, then they called me into the office and said "we're letting you go." OK - wasn't exactly heartbroken because I hated that place but I said, I've been working 8 to 6 despite my honest mistake today; I had finished my project the night before so there was nothing important that I missed (didn't actually say that part), and that I'd finished all my requirements in less than half the time allotted, plus a few extra ones, so why were they letting me go? "the decision was made" was their answer. I later asked again if they could tell me why and got verbatim the same answer. I asked about my career, to the effect of, how badly is my career screwed now? If another company calls and asks why I left etc, what do you tell them, and he said we only tell them the dates you worked here, literally nothing else. OK fine, then I politely thanked them and left.
My question is: was I fired with cause? Am I eligible for unemployment benefits? And how much must I tell my next interviewer?