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Is there some way I can still get unemployment after failing a drug test?

Clermont, FL |

I failed a Drug test at my former job I filed for unemployment but they say I can't clam for it due to misconduct. After a week with out a job I found another part time job I tried to fill for parcel unemployment again and they say that I have to fill an Appeal for what happened at my last job. My question is what can I do to prove unemployment that I don't do drugs so I can still claim my Unemployment? Do I have to go to drug rehab? I made an appointment to see a Physiologist will that work? Please I'm willing to do anything to make things in my life wright again....

Attorney Answers 4

  1. If you were fired for cause, then you are not eligible for unemployment.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.

  2. Unemployment issues are decided by hearing officers based strictly on the law and rules. It isn't like a court case with a judge who is often empowered to temper justice with mercy or use common sense or do what the judge thinks is fair. A hearing officer must follow the rules strictly with no latitude except for his/her belief in the truth or falsity of facts.

    Unfortunately, there isn't much room to dispute the facts in your case, unless you are disputing the accuracy of the drug test. But you tested positive for drugs and were fired for cause. Appeals, hearings, rehab, physcologists -- none of that can change the fact that people who are fired for cause cannot receive unemployment as a result of that firing. That's the law and that is what the hearing officer would have to rule. As stated above, he/she has no choice.

    But, never fear. It is not the end of your world. Sure, it is a financial handicap, but not having a job is the real problem. And It only relates to that one firing and getting unemployment compensation as a result. If you get another job and are laid off for economic reasons, then you would be eligible for unemployment again for losing that job.

    Stay away from the drugs. They don't do a person any good and, as you can see, they can hurt a person in all kinds of ways including the loss of reputation.

    The foregoing was offered for informational purposes only and is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship, but if you found the answer helpful, please check the thumbs-up box below.

  3. I respectfully disagree with Mr. Picchi's response and would advise you that, under Florida law, an employer who adopts a drug-free workplace must strictly comply with all of the requirements of the law, and if you can prove that they did not strictly comply, then your drug test result is invalid and cannot be used as a reason for discharge and for the denial of unemployment benefits based on misconduct. The real problem is that you will have to pay a lawyer to fight this and there is a good chance this will cost over $5,000 for any decent lawyer and perhaps more. Practically speaking, you may decide that its' not worth fighting. You may want to consider why the drug test was read as positive by obtaining a copy of the results, and reviewing your complete medical history with your doctor. Perhaps you are taking some medication, prescription or non-prescription, or some herbal remedy or vitamin which can produce a "false positive" on a drug test. You don't want this to happen again, so if there is a chance that you are taking something that produces a positive drug test, you need to find out what it is to avoid this in the future. Instead of a physiologist, you may want to consider your primary doctor or a toxicologist to determine what, if anything, you may be using that is producing a positive result. Only a judge can force you to go to drug rehab but you can go to drug rehab, and you should go if you are using any unlawful substance that is affecting your personal life and career. I hope this answer helps, and wish you good luck!
    Bob Shapiro

  4. For more information on Florida's drug testing statutes, check out my employee rights blog in which I set out many of the rules. Feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss this issue further.

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