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Load off/new job

by Michelle

Ok the company I have worked for for the last 5+ years is going under so to speak. The owner has decided to sell the equipment to a competitor and close shop. Nothing at this point is definite but that is most likely the outcome. I have been assured I would have a job at the competitors location, however I already travel 240 miles a week to this job and the 'new' job would require an additional 100 mile a week travel + probably another hour commute on top of the hour and 15 minutes I already travel. This is not desirable for me seeing as how I have an 11 week old at home with his father and I have the only means of transportation and not to mention the time and $$ aspect of the farther drive. Will I be denied benefits if I refuse to take the new job. I live in FL and also to mention I have no idea what position I'd be hired for I'm assuming clerical but nothing other than "They want you to come work for them." has been discussed with me. Help I'm hanging in limbo here!!

Hi Michelle,

The issue you are asking about is whether you can be denied unemployment if you refuse suitable work.

First, if your current employer is closing their doors .. that is a lack of work claim and you would be entitled to benefits, but like I try to warn people .. even if you are laid off "other issues" can be brought out by "whomever" that serve to expand the ways you might end up denied.

That is what "a refusal of suitable work" can do.

So what is suitable work in Florida? This is what the statute 443.101 says:

(2) If the Agency for Workforce Innovation finds that the individual has failed without good cause to apply for available suitable work when directed by the agency or the one-stop career center, to accept suitable work when offered to him or her, or to return to the individual's customary self-employment when directed by the agency, the disqualification continues for the full period of unemployment next ensuing after he or she failed without good cause to apply for available suitable work, to accept suitable work, or to return to his or her customary self-employment, under this subsection, and until the individual has earned income at least 17 times his or her weekly benefit amount. The Agency for Workforce Innovation shall by rule adopt criteria for determining the "suitability of work," as used in this section. The Agency
for Workforce Innovation in developing these rules shall consider the duration of a claimant's unemployment in determining the suitability of work and the suitability of proposed rates of compensation for available work. Further, after an individual has received 25 weeks of benefits in a single year, suitable work is a job that pays the minimum wage and is 120 percent or more of the weekly benefit amount the individual is drawing.

(a) In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, the Agency for Workforce Innovation shall consider the degree of risk involved to his or her health, safety, and morals; his or her physical fitness and prior training; the individual's experience and prior earnings; his or her length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in his or her customary occupation; and the distance of the available work from his or her residence.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, work is not deemed suitable and benefits may not be denied under this chapter to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work under any of the following conditions:

1. If the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute.

2. If the wages, hours, or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the locality.

3. If as a condition of being employed, the individual would be required to join a company union or to resign from or refrain from joining any bona fide labor organization.

What's missing and which I can't find anywhere on the AWI website is the criteria the department uses to make these judgments.

My suggestion for anyone needing to research precedent unemployment decisions which would help get a handle on what words like "substantial" actually mean is to use the free, one time only, 24 hours of access to

This has the benefit of adding confidence to any decisions you make about what to do. When I used my free 24 hours, I noticed they also allowed you to email decisions to yourself.

Anyone, including you could actually create a page here with the decision and a brief description of what it's about .. for future visitors with the same problem.

What I do know for sure is that Florida is denying claims that strike me as questionable, to say the least, so I think due diligence is necessary to find out if what is not desirable conditions to you, coincide with what Florida think is reasonable for refusing a job.

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