This weekend is the last chance I’ll have to review the details of my daughter’s recent termination and to complete preparations for the unemployment hearing. I’ve written out a list of questions I plan to ask, along with the way I’d like her to answer the questions. Don’t worry, all the answers are the truth. I just don’t want her to range beyond the scope of the questions. Nor do I want her to display anger or sarcasm — sure to turn off the hearing officer.
The way the hearing works is: the hearing officer takes the lead and asks all the questions he (or she) thinks are necessary to “develop the record” and bring out the facts of the case. I imagine he will ask many of the questions I’ve prepared for my daughter to answer. Only after he’s satisfied that he understands the facts will each side get to ask questions of their witnesses, and to “cross examine” the other side.
So, during the first part of the hearing I plan to be very busy taking notes, scratching out some of my questions (if they’ve already been answered and don’t need elaboration) and jotting new ones if issues are raised that I DO want to elaborate on.
I’ve read (thank you, John Grisham and Erle Stanley Gardner!) that lawyers should never ask a question if they don’t already know the answer, so I’ll try to stick to that rule.
My goals are specific:
1. Show that misconduct did not occur. Misconduct requires an intentional violation of rules or policies. I think I can show that no matter what she said, there was not intent to violate anything.
2. Provide a plausible alternative (REAL) reason for her termination: a reduction in force necessitated by the departure of ¾ of the practicing doctors.
I know they never replaced the other pregnant woman who was terminated. How? Did a little detective work. I don’t know for sure that they never replaced my daughter, although I don’t think they did. I’d like to ask that question (“So, have you replaced these two people who were terminated? No? Doesn’t that show that you knew their positions were not needed?”), but if they answer “yes,” I won’t be able to rebut them and it’ll weaken my contention. A dilemma.
Meanwhile, I’m spending so much time and thought on this because it’s very important to my daughter and her husband. She’s having no luck finding another job when it’s obvious that within two months she’ll need time off for maternity leave. And they are very short on money. If this appeal is successful, she’ll receive unemployment compensation all the way back to the date of her termination. They need it.
More to come...