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Employees fired for missing work should expect to miss unemployment comp, too

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in Employee Benefits Program,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employees who are guilty of misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation in Florida. That means if they’re fired for missing a lot of work, habitually arriving late or leaving early, they can be denied unemployment benefits.

Essentially, misconduct is behavior that represents willful or wanton disregard for an employer’s interests. It can include deliberate violation of workplace rules, including those designed to control absenteeism.

Recent case: Guadalupe Gonzalez was fired from her job after missing work on numerous occasions after using up all of her leave. She worked for a cleaning service, and regular attendance was important so her employer could schedule work. The service warned Gonzalez that she might lose her job unless she stopped incurring unauthorized absences and started coming in on time.

When she didn’t, she was fired. When she applied for unemployment, she was turned down. She appealed.

The court wasn’t sympathetic, pointing out that Gonzalez ignored the rules and even taking days off when her doctor’s appointments had been canceled. The court said that constituted a real disregard for her employer’s needs and justified rejecting her benefit application. (Gonzalez v. Florida Unemployment Appeals Commission and Quick Cleaning, No. 1D10-1834, Court of Appeal of Florida, 2010)

Final note: Unemployment compensation is supposed to ease the transition for employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Workers fired for ignoring attendance rules have only themselves to blame.

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