Recently, Attorney Murphy’s client, Ms. Johnson, formerly an Assistant Director of Admissions at American International College (“AIC”), was denied unemployment benefits after being terminated for supposedly failing to meet the expectations of the employer’s performance improvement plan (“PIP”). Specifically, AIC asserted at the Division of Unemployment Assistance (“DUA”) administrative hearing that Ms. Johnson deliberately failed to achieve the goals in the PIP. After assessing the merits of the PIP, Attorney Murphy argued that AIC unrealistically applied the PIP to Ms. Johnson. That is, it was not humanly possible for Ms. Johnson to deliberately fail to meet the expectations of the PIP. Indeed, Attorney Murphy’s line of questioning revealed that it was unreasonable to expect Ms. Johnson to achieve the goals of the PIP in addition to her every day workload. Accordingly, the DUA reversed its original determination and granted Ms. Johnson unemployment benefits. See Johnson v. American International College, Docket No: 615906.
Attorney Murphy notes that this employment situation is particularly frustrating because it could have been avoided entirely had the progressive disciplinary action been methodically applied to his client.