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I had worked at a job where I was terminated. The reason for termination wasn't made very clear to me. The manager said I would get a positive reference from her and she would indicate I'm eligible for rehire. The job was unionized but I hadn't accumulated enough hours to be fully covered by the union agreement (or it was dubious). Anyway, I decided it was not worth fighting. I would like to get hired by a different branch and didn't want to risk losing the good reference.

I have been applying at the other branches where I had a good experience working seasonally at. Management there knew I had been hired permanently at the other location and asked why I'm not working there anymore. I didn't have a good reason as it's not clear to myself.

More importantly, I had applied for EI. Apparently no reason was given for my dismissal on my Record of Employment and it just says "dismissed". The EI coordinator asked me to get the company to fix it or they will have to launch an investigation themselves.

How should I handle this? I was thinking of emailing my former manager.

Hi [boss],

I was applying for EI but there was a problem with the Record of Employment from [Company Name]. It just says "dismissed" which isn't enough detail. Also I had been applying at other branches I had a good experience working at seasonally. The managers there knew I was working at [branch location] and asked what happened. Since it wasn't really made clear to me, what should I tell them?

I contacted the union rep about this. Basically her suggestion was the above email. EXCEPT that she said to cc her and write her name at the bottom of the email. This seems a bit confrontational to me. To recap from my other question, when I pressed for a reason in the termination phone call, I got really strange ones, like I didn't show enough enthusiasm while training. I'm guessing not but in this message should I point out that I disagree with the reasons given or that no issues had been brought to my attention?

Is being laid off the same thing as being dismissed without cause? If not, what is the difference?

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  • I don't understand the question you are asking. Do you want to contest your termination or to get clarification for EI? Why are you afraid of the EI people launching their own investigation? And moreover, why are you afraid of being confrontational with your former employer? They literally fired you for no reason, that's the most confrontational thing they could possibly do, so why are you afraid of being confrontational to them in return? – Ertai87 Apr 15 at 21:18
  • Does it matter what you agree with? Don't you just need a reason to give the government? – Gregory Currie Apr 16 at 1:28
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    @Ertai87, "Why are you afraid of the EI people launching their own investigation?" During this pandemic, unemployment agencies everywhere are already overwhelmed with work to do. So if the OP waits for the government to make the phone call and ask that one question, it could delay their unemployment check by several months. It's just better for the OP to ask that question themself. I bet it's going to be way faster that way. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 16 at 2:20
  • What is EI ?????? – Fattie Apr 16 at 2:57
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    @Fattie money the Canadian government provides when you are unexpectedly unemployed. I'm guessing other countries have their own version they call something else. – Hedgehound Apr 16 at 6:26
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I am not a lawyer, but I believe there are only 3 ways to leave your job: You are dismissed for cause, you are dismissed without cause, or you quit. If you are not dismissed for cause, but you are dismissed, then you are by definition dismissed without cause. So that answers the last question.

As for what to do about the company not providing the information, your first step should be to try and be nice. Send an email to your former manager, CC whatever HR rep you have, and ask them nicely:

Hey John/Jane. Since being terminated from XYZ Corp I've tried to apply for my EI benefits. The EI office has unfortunately told me that there is insufficient detail on my record of employment to provide my EI benefits. Can you please update my record of employment with some more information for the EI office to process my claim, and/or provide me with a statement that I can send to them to expedite the process? This is fairly time-sensitive so please do this as soon as you can. Also, if you update my record of employment, please just shoot me a response email so I know it's been handled. Thanks.

Send this email, then give them around a week of turnaround time. If you don't hear anything within a week, that's when I would say things are beginning to become sketchy, and I would begin escalating by looping in your union rep, as your union rep suggested. But first, try to be nice.

As far as your concern regarding being rehired by this company: There is a common adage on this site, and it goes something like this: "If an employee makes it known to the company that they are not happy and are looking for other opportunities, the company is likely to see the employee as an employment risk; even if the employee isn't fired immediately, it certainly puts the employee on a short list of people to be fired at the next opportunity". The same is true of employers: Your employer has already fired you once. If they rehire you, what's to say that they won't fire you again? They are an employment risk, as they have already shown you that they are willing to fire you, by actually firing you. Even if your employer has suggested you may be rehired sometime in the future, you should have them at the very very bottom of your list of companies you'd want to work for, and should find another job elsewhere instead.

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    "For cause" usually means that the employee did something to harm the company, e.g. stealing from the company, not doing their assigned work, publishing IP, harassment, etc. The company is going to have a very very hard case to make that "not showing enough enthusiasm" is cause for dismissal; if my employer fired me "for cause" with that as a reason, I would 100% sue them. Source: I am Canadian. – Ertai87 Apr 16 at 17:24
  • I suggested adding terminated due to lack of work but the manager said it wouldn't be correct as I was terminated in probation period. So then shouldn't that be the state reason - "terminated in probation"? – Hedgehound Apr 21 at 11:54
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Don't listen to the union rep. Do not CC her, unless you want to fight your initial dismissal. Her agenda may be different than yours.

But do send it to both HR and your former manager. This is an HR issue. But at the same time, you want your manager looped in as well, maybe they can make a quick call to the manager at the other location.

With that said, if you're not getting what you want, then you can include the union rep in your communications, but do not do this as your first move. As you said, since you do not want to fight it, CC'ing the union rep at this stage would be a bit confrontational.

Maybe the Union Rep has a good reason for asking you to CC her, but if she does, she has not explained it to you.

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  • The union rep is likely to have a better idea about corporate culture and how to get things done. If you're a union member it's absolutely standard to discuss this sort of thing with the union, so you're not threatening anything by telling the union or mentioning it; if anything you're saving the company time by letting them know the union rep involved. The union has an interest in knowing why you were made redundant, because it may reflect what happens to other workers, but the company will know that. (NB: In Canada unions are in a stronger position than the US.) – Stuart F Apr 19 at 11:34
  • @StuartF, You could be right. I don't know. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 19 at 20:16

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