Fired for "unprofessional conduct"

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I have worked in middle management for a privately owned business for over 9 years. Yesterday, my employement was terminated with the reason given as, "unprofessional conduct and actions tward co-employees." The company refused to give me any further explanation.

On Friday, I had asked my assistant if she would leave our shared office space so that I could compose myself (I had just received some disturbing news about a health condition I have and was crying). My assistant refused to leave and pushed past me to to go her desk. I then told my assistant that I would end up having to leave this job and she could "have it." Out of frustration. I then proceeded to go to the manager to whom I report my days off (her only purpose with me--time reporting. I directly report to the President of the company) and told her that I needed to take the rest of the day off and to please charge me with a vacation day. As she and I are close friends, she asked what was wrong and I told her about my health issue and the behavior problems I was having with my assistant. I was crying and visably disturbed during our conversation. She then told me to take it easy and would see me on Monday.

I later called my assistant from home and asked her to please keep my personal matters private and not share them with anyone in the office...that I was embarrassed because I broke down in the office and I apologized to her for my display. She then told me that it was "too late, everyone knows" and said this repeatedly. She also said that MY crying made her so upset that SHE felt dizzy and had blurred vision. I suggested she go to the emergency room if she felt so poorly and asked her is she wanted me to help her arrange that or contact someone in the company to come help her. She refused this offer. I again repeated my request by asking her to keep my matters private, as I give her that same courtesy and she again said it was too late. As we were ending our call, I told her to contact me if she needed anything at all.

On Monday, I was then terminated for "unprofessional conduct and actions toward my co-employees" No further explanation, no details. I was so shocked by this that I did not ask for further explanation at the time.

As I have mentioned, I am in Middle Management and have had the unpleasant responsibility of terminating the employment of more than one individual. I also know that my company was always VERY concerned with the legalities of termination and expected me to provide numerous documents that covered the company's legal concern if the terminated employee was upset and considering attempting to take action. There were months between my initiating termination to when I was actually able to end an employee's work with the company. I would provide job re-training, weekly counseling sessions, weekly probationary progress reports on the 3 individuals I had to eventually let go.

In the case of my termination, however, I had no prior warning, nothing verbal, written or otherwise. I have had an excellent record with the organization, with glowing reviews and reccomendations from upper management. Just one year ago this month I won an "Outstanding Individual of the Year" award at our annual award's dinner. I have had no complaints on file --or complaints that I have been notified of ever.

I am not necessarily seeking to sue this organization but I am mortified and afraid that they will prevent my seeking unemployment benefits. According to the state in which I filed, a claims examiner will be contacting me about the reason for seperation.

Can someone please provide me with some insight or suggestions?

Of course I reccognize that you don't know me from anyone else but I am amazingly embarrassed and troubled by this event. I pride myself on being a professional and have been part of many important projects with my organization that has helped the business grow.

I understand that NJ is an "at will" state and they can fire me for any reason but of course, it is not a normal practice for an employer to fire an employee of 9 years because they didn't like what I ate for lunch every day.

Thanks for anything you might be able to help with here
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