Wrongful Discharge / Unemployment Compensation
Can employees bring a claim for “wrongful discharge” in Florida?
Generally, no. Florida is an “at-will” state, meaning that an employee can be discharged for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all. As a result, even if an employer discharges an employee for an arbitrary or unfair reason, as long as that reason does not violate a specific statute (for example, discrimination, whistleblower), the decision does not give rise to any legal claim.
Under what circumstances are employees entitled to receive unemployment compensation?
There are two situations in which employees will be denied unemployment compensation: resignation and discharge for misconduct. An employee may resign and still recover benefits if the resignation is attributable to the employer (i.e. the employer makes a significant change to wages, hours or working conditions, thereby prompting the resignation). Poor performance alone does not constitute misconduct on the part of an employee. Rather, the employer must typically show that the employee willfully failed to perform his or her job, repeatedly failed to follow instructions, or deliberately acted in a manner contrary to the employer’s interests.