If you file for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits, your employer will be asked its position on your entitlement. The employer will respond by letter. If the UC panel decides that you were discharged for misconduct, it will deny your benefits. You will, however, be given instructions in your denial letter how to appeal that decision. At that time, you will have the opportunity to state your side of the case.
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. A relevant factor will be if the record demonstrates that the discharged employee repeatedly violated explicit employer policies after several warnings.
Examples of employee misconduct include: altering attendance records to show that the employee was at work when he had not been, and listing information on an employment application that the employee knew was false. On the other hand, isolated instances of poor judgment are usually not considered "misconduct" for purposes of entitlement to UC benefits. For example, an employee's failure to correct her timecard was not grounds to deny benefits (even though she remained fired).
If your UC benefits get denied, you should contact an attorney well in advance of the deadline to file an appeal to discuss your facts in greater detail.
Ken Schwartz, Esq.
West Palm Beach, FL
Poor attitude is often given by employers as the reason for termination but under the law it usually does not amount to misconduct and a finding of misconduct is required to deny benefits. Even if there is a finding of misconduct based upon a poor attitude, there are cases which state that the employee must have been given notification and several warnings in order to deny benefits. You most likely are entitled to benefits and if they are initially denied be sure to appeal the denial.
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