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Medical Receptionist - Fired for Poor Job Performance - Can I collect unemployment?

by Elizabeth
(Port Orange, FL)

I have worked at the doctor's office for exactly 12 weeks (84 days). The office manager pulled me into her office on Friday at 5 pm and told me I was "too slow."

Well, I was still in the learning phase but I had really picked it up. My co-workers said that it takes about 6 months to learn my position and have it down pat. She said it definitely was not my personality for everyone liked me and I was good to the patients.

What bothers me now is that she NEVER gave me a warning. I could go on to justify "why" I was considered by her to be "too slow." Their office is so disorganized with the patients charts.

They have a file cabinet but there are about 300 charts not filed and you have to search for a file if it is not filed in the file cabinet. They have a system to try to figure out where it "might be," however, if its not there you have to go look in all 300 files to find the one chart.

It is absolutely INSANE. Unfortunately, my job was to pull the charts a week in advance for the patient's appointments. This is "why" I was slow. I could not find the charts. I also had to find the chart for every phone message in these conditions. I am telling you it was insane and not easy but I did it and she is going to see this week how much I did do and I was up to date on everything.

Every chart is pulled for M-F this week, charts QA through Tuesday, 2 phone messages still on my desk because I could not find the charts (surprise, surprise). I never was late and never missed a day the whole 3 months. I even would stay overtime if they needed me too.

My feelings are hurt. But hey, I have a lot of experience in the medical field and I know I will land back on my feet but need a little financial help until I do, especially in this economy.

Hey Elizabeth,

I responded to your email before I read you submission. Sounds like I pegged the "Office Manager" eh? :-)

I'll just add a little more info anyone else reading knows you moved to a different city and you had been supporting yourself with independent contract work doing medical transcribing, which fell
off with the move. So you got a regular job to fill in until you found some more clients. Right? You are worried that the money from the one contract job you still have may prevent you from applying for unemployment.

My answer:

The money you are still earning will not prevent you from applying for unemployment, nothing can prevent you from applying. The question is whether you have qualifying wage credits from "insured work" and then if the merits or the reason for the separation are found to be the fault of the employer.

You were discharged for poor job performance, even if you were slow (the reason given by the employer) THAT IS NOT MISCONDUCT! If an employer chooses to use inability as the reason for termination...go with it. Even if you think they are full of it, or it hurts your feelings.
They are winning your case for you.

I cannot say this enough...Inability is not Misconduct. Period.

The real problem for you is your base period and whether you have enough qualifying wages in Florida.

This is Florida's statute regarding the minimums required:

2) QUALIFYING REQUIREMENTS.--To establish a benefit year for unemployment benefits, an individual must have:

(a) Wage credits in two or more calendar quarters of the individual's base period.

(b) Minimum total base period wage credits equal to the high quarter wages multiplied by 1.5, but at least $3,400 in the base period.

And this is the statute for partial unemployment: (Which is what you'd be getting, because you'll need to report even non-insured money received from a job.)

(b) Partial.--Each eligible individual who is partially unemployed in any week is paid for the week a benefit equal to her or his weekly benefit less that part of the earned income, if any, payable to her or him for the week which is in excess of 8 times the federal hourly minimum wage. These benefits, if not a multiple of $1, are rounded downward to the nearest full dollar amount.

If you do collect unemployment you MUST be able and available for work. The state requires anyone who files for unemployment to register for work and comply with their job search requirements. If you are pursuing contract jobs that don't fit the definition of "covered employment" you may run the risk of not being "able and available" if the independent work interferes with taking a job that is offered to you.

Hope this helps,


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