Florida Unemployment Compensation – Benefits Available to the Justly Fired

To the surprise of many, Florida employees justly terminated from their jobs may nevertheless be entitled to receive unemployment compensation benefits. In other words, although an employee’s actions may justify discharge, the same conduct does not necessarily preclude entitlement to unemployment benefits. Betancourt v. Sun Bank Miami, N.A., 672 So.2d 37 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1996).

For Unemployment Compensation benefits to be denied, an employee’s behavior must rise to the level of “misconduct,” defined as acting willfully, wantonly, or be in substantial disregard of the employer’s interest. See ยงยง 443.036(29), and 443.101, Fla. Stat.

An isolated incident of poor judgment does not rise to that level. See McKnight v. Florida Unemployment Appeals Comm’n, 713 So. 2d 1080 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998); Betancourt, Bulkan v. Florida Unemployment Appeals Comm’n, 648 So. 2d 846 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995); Smith v. Krugman-Kadi, 547 So. 2d 677 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989), review denied, 558 So. 2d 20 (Fla. 1990); and Erber v. Federal Express Corp., 409 So. 2d 522 (Fla. 5th DCA 1982).

However, in Florida, an isolated incident or, sadly, no incident at all – Florida is an “at-will” employment State – may lead to the lawful termination of an employee.

Thankfully, these reasons do not constitute grounds to prevent a terminated employee from receiving Unemployment Compensation benefits.

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Contact us at 866-785-GALE or by email to learn your legal rights.

Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.