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Denied Florida Partial Unemployment Benefits For Being Underemployed

by Jessica
(Florida Unemployment Compensation)

This is my long story short: I gave my employer (dentist in Florida) a resignation letter in October 2011 giving her a 60 day notice because my husband found a job in another state(I know, should've been 2 weeks-her office policy wants 4 weeks if you want to "end in good terms"- but I was her only assistant at the moment and she was supposed to be my friend and I felt bad for just leaving her without help-->STUPID ME).

Anyhow, around the end of November they had already hired 2 dental assistants, whom I trained. December 1st, 2011, the office manager (dentist's husband) ordered me not to go to work the following Monday and I could take advantage and "pack". I explained to him that the next day my husband was leaving and everything was packed and I needed to work due to the financial obligations I was facing due to the 60 day notice I gave them (2 houses bills) and he said he was going to talk to his wife and will call me back.

The doctor was such a coward that she was in the office but didn't talk to me about it and the husband another coward because he didn't ask her at the moment.

My husband left and I stayed in Florida. On Sunday, late evening, the dentist's husband texted me saying that they didn't need me because they couldn't afford 3 assistants and to "keep it up for the days they are busier". I went to the unemployment office to see if I qualified for partial unemployment and showed them the texts. They told me yes and I filed my claim. They texted me to go to work once a week till my final day, when they allowed me to go to work and return keys, uniforms, study material my so called friend gave me and to get my final check. I was already receiving unemployment and that's why I continued working on an on call basis because I didn't want to be disqualified because I left the place.

Well, little did I know or expect, I'd received in late February an appeal and they stopped paying me unemployment.

I filed an appeal and had the hearing over the phone 2 weeks ago. The referee didn't allow me to talk a lot or question the office manager to try to verify his lies (he said I had requested the days to pack and study to get my license to practice dentistry-WHICH IS A LIE and I tried to confront him and ask him where's that paperwork requesting those days(which doesn't exist) and referee would say that it doesn't matter if there's a paper or not cause it can't be submitted as evidence).

Anyway, finally, last week I received the determination of appeals referee, where I'm
denied full unemployment benefits but the department will conduct an investigation for my partial unemployment and that the employer was found bias and that he gave contradicting testimony and that the evidence was benefiting me (for example, the office manager accepted receiving my text messages as evidence when the referee asked him if he did and then he denied it).

So now I have received a determination where all the money they were paying me should be returned.

Now, I'm currently unemployed and, therefore, I don't have the money.

I want to appeal because it's unfair. They have done that hour cut to other employees at the office on several occasions till they finally fired them.

I don't want them to win because I want to prove a point and give them a lesson that they can't treat employees the way they treated me when the employee had been loyal to the point to modify their life for them. Do I need an attorney or can I can do all this by myself?

Response For: Denied Florida Partial Unemployment Benefits For Being Underemployed

Hi Jessica,

First, specificity of dates is important here.

Second, it's important to realize (unless FL has changed their unemployment statutes favorably to the unemployed) that Florida does not have a provision which allows a person to voluntarily quit a job to follow their spouse .. unless their spouse is in the military.

However, if I have followed along and have made some assumptions correctly, you would have given notice of quitting for sometime in December or, 60 days from whenever in October.

You would of been entitled to partial unemployment benefits when the employer reduced your weekly hours and only to the date of your notice if you didn't receive wages from this employer after that 60th day.

As far as I'm concerned, answering this is a matter of having specific dates and paystubs to prove how long you remained an employee.

I do know there is no way you were entitled to collecting full benefits after the date you provided for resignation without being able to also offer proof (paystubs) for any subsequent week after your resignation date that you actually worked for them.

Any unemployment must be through no fault of your own. Therefore, due to the fact that FL did not extend the statutes to include moving to follow a spouse not in the military .. at the point you stopped working for this employer the reason for being unemployed (quitting) becomes your fault and not attributable to the employment.

Hope this helps ..

As for whether you need a non-attorney hearing rep or a FL unemployment attorney, that's your call .. not mine.

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Mar 29, 2012
In regards of my case
by: Jessica

I gave my resignation letter on October 22nd, 2011 and my last day of employment was December 22nd, 2011. I was never asking for unemployment benefits due to my move and I told the referee that. Only asking for partial unemployment for the week of December when I was put on an on call as needed basis. I provided the text messages the office manager sent me stating that he only needed me when they are busier, cell phone records proving I didn't make the pictures of the text messages with paint on my computer and also paystubs. My employer provided time sheets, which I also used on my benefit because you can clearly see the days and times I worked (proving I worked only one day a week in December). Do you think I have a case to win the partial unemployment, which I think would be the FAIR thing in this case. Both parties lose here but it's the FAIR thing. I lose because I would have to give back a big portion of what I received, but my employer will also lose because they would have an increase in their unemployment insurance, am I correct? Well, I think that would teach them not to constantly do this to their employees and be people of word...

Yes, in fact, I can't figure out why FL is saying you have to repay partial benefits .. as if the employer had simply terminated your employment prior to your resignation date .. you would have been entitled to benefits up to your resignation date.

Cannot figure out how this decision went against you.


PS, I'm more inclined though to base the blame for this happening upon the hearing officer .. not the employer.

If you want me to say more .. email me and I'll tell you where you can send a redacted hearing decision. It might be more telling than what you can tell me here.

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