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Can I receive benefits in Florida if I quit my job because I was a victim of mental abuse?

by KG
(Tampa, FL)

I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and recently worked at a TV station for over 3 months. I executive assisted the head of the station who was an angry, confrontational, condescending and all around poor manager. He would ask me everyday if I needed him to think for me.

Mind you, I'm a college educated 40+ year old woman with over 20+ years of experience assisting upper-level management in a variety of industries in New York City, so his daily insults became increasingly difficult to swallow.

Though I consider myself to be non-confrontational, I would respectfully challenge his constant complaints by asking questions. Well, he finally flipped one day, the week before Thanksgiving, leaned into me to yell at me and fired me on the spot.

He definitely made me feel uncomfortable, I mean, he was 4x's my size! He called in the HR head and had her attempt to coerce me into sticking around so I could train someone else to take my position. Needless to say, I left for lunch and never went back.

Luckily I had kept a log of the multitude of incidences with the manager from my first week of working with the company. When I got home on my last day of working there, I quickly emailed the incidence log to the corporate officers of the company along with an email I had sent to the HR head after I left the job explaining why I'd

I applied for unemployment compensation and recently received a letter from the Unemployment Compensation Program requesting additional info about why I lost my job. They said the TV station is denying my ability to claim benefits because I "abandoned my job". My question is: Can I still get benefits even though I basically quit, but for what I would believe is a "good cause": ABUSE??!!

Chris's Response

The letter from the state is trying to get some details relevant to how unemployment law considers facts to determine good cause and because of the obvious disparity in your story from the employer's.

Your documentation can and should be used by you. There may of been enough good cause, but I think it was when that man physically leaned into you and fired you that he became the moving party.

And this should also explain why you refused to continue working until you trained another abusee should not be considered a quit...unless you want to call it a "constructive quit" which simply means the employer gave you no choice, but to quit...thereby effectively discharging you.

I think the employer should be counting their lucky stars you haven't filed and EEO complaint. Also, I'd like to just point out that UI fraud is not only committed by claimants and the punishment for fraud is the same for employees and employers.

Please proceed KG and nail their collective asses to the wall. I also think you had good cause.

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