Should I specify how I want the payment classified? How?
Employer also gave a verbal promise not to contest my unemployment claim & told me that if I didn't sign their General Release I would be disqualified from COBRA Premium Assistance.
Also verbally stated that reason for termination would be "mutual separation," which is voluntary, though the premium assistance requires "involuntary termination."
Will FL pay unemployment for a voluntary termination?
Release states my last day is Fri. 8/14; If I don't sign, then reason will be "straight termination", no severance, etc.
Should I get these promises in writing? Does e-mail count?
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
You are asking very specific questions that should be answered by an attorney you have hired to represent you. The only question I will address is: "Will FL pay unemployment for a voluntary termination? "
Any individual who is currently unemployed or partially unemployed can file a claim, regardless of how they got there ( whether the employer calls it lay-off, termination, voluntary resignation, or otherwise). The unemployed individual (UI) may be eligible for benefits if: (1) s/he has had sufficient work and earnings in Florida to establish a monetarily eligible claim, and (2) the UI (a) has not voluntarily left his/her work without good cause attributable to his/her employing unit or (b) has not been discharged by his or her employing unit for misconduct connected with his/her work. These determinations will be made by the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI).
By statute, "misconduct" includes, but is not limited to: (a) conduct demonstrating willful or wanton disregard of an employer's interests and found to be a deliberate violation or disregard of the standards of behavior which the employer has a right to expect of his or her employee; or (b) carelessness or negligence to a degree or recurrence that manifests culpability, wrongful intent, or evil design or shows an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer's interests or of the employee's duties and obligations to his or her employer.
Nothing in the facts you stated indicates that you have committed any misconduct. On the contrary, if you can adequately demonstrate to the AWI referee that your separation from the employer was instigated by the employer, you should be awarded benefits, even if the release calls the separation mutual.
Wrongful Termination Lawyer
If you received payment from your employer that can be characterized as "wages in lieu of notice", this will be offset against your unemployment benefits. However, severance pay that is not characterized as wages in lieu of notice and is received on condition that a general relese be provided to the employer should not be considered an offset against benefits. Severance pay under these circumstances is payment you received for the release and should have no bearing on unemployment compensation.