Monday, March 07, 2005

Final Preparations for the Hearing

Your author Today I’m going over my notes, the Q&As I’ve prepared for my daughter and for her employer, the materials from the Texas Workforce Commission’s web site, all of our documentation, and my summary statement. Oh, yeah, that’s after I took care of all my HR manager duties I’m getting paid to do. The last thing we all need is for ME to get fired for misconduct, as in conducting personal business on company time.

That’s why I’m doing this at home. Besides, it’s still too soupy outside to do any yard work or outside chores.

The hearing is on Wednesday. Tomorrow (Tuesday) evening my wife and I will drive to Corpus Christi, spend some time with Christina and her husband, go out somewhere for dinner, and go over our plans for the next morning. I’m taking a vacation day Wednesday.

Wednesday morning we’ll all be together when we call in. That’s when the excitement will start. We’ll learn who will participate for her employer and how many witnesses, if any, they plan to call. If there are any surprise witnesses on the employer’s side, I’ll have to scramble to develop some questions for them based on what Christina tells me about their role in the whole mess.

The first five or ten minutes will be taken up with housekeeping matters. The hearing officer will go over the conduct and procedures of the hearing, take down the names and roles of all of the participants, and get things started. All participants will be sworn in.

Then the officer will ask questions. He’ll start with the party who initiated the termination. That’ll be the employer. I’ll be taking notes and trying to strategize.

Then the questions will shift to Christina. More note taking and strategy, plus prompting her if I feel she’s either getting angry or sidetracked.

Next the employer will get to bring forward his witnesses, if any, and ask them questions. I should get to “cross examine” them. If he doesn’t call any witnesses, I think I’ll get to question him. I hope so. I want to hear his reasons for both his actions, and for some things he didn’t do that most managers would do in a situation involving poor performance. Last I will get to directly question Christina.

After all the questions are over, each side will have a chance to summarize its position. I have a summary statement ready. This ought to be like a “closing argument” in front of a jury, but very brief.

I THINK that’s how the whole thing will go. I need to be flexible in case curves are thrown. That ought to be the biggest challenge—thinking fast and reacting to unexpected turns.

I’m getting nervous just thinking about it.

Bottom line, though: she’s not getting any unemployment now, and the WORST thing that can happen is she STILL won’t get any. There’s a lot more upside than downside. I keep reminding myself, this is not a murder trial.

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