Teacher wins only part of unemployment fight

Teacher wins only part of unemployment fight

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by BILL MCGINTY / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @billwcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on November 7, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 7 at 7:22 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It has been a frustrating fight to keep what she says is hers. Within 48 hours of waging war with her employer, CMS and State Unemployment, teacher assistant Arlene Trefil learned she won here appeals hearing, or at least part of it.

 “I am dumbfounded, truly dumbfounded,” Trefil said.

Arlene and other teachers and teacher assistants were terminated when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools cut staff last spring. After getting unemployment this summer, the state demanded that money back after CMS said the teachers had their jobs back via email before school ended in mid June.

Over the weekend, the Employment Security Commission sided with Arlene, saying she was eligible for benefits in July. The state now says that when she got the undated, unsigned letter on August 1 from CMS, things changed.

The state now says that letter gave Arlene “reasonable assurance” that she would have her job back and so it wants all the benefits back from August 1 to August 18. State law says you can collect benefits until you actually start working, but in this case it doesn’t apply because of “reasonable assurance.”

Arlene Trefil says she shouldn’t have to pay anything back because she knows of employees who likewise collected unemployment benefits and haven’t yet had to pay back a dime. Arlene says that disparity and seemingly random and arbitrary order gives her grounds to appeal for all her benefits and not just some.

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