Am I still eligible for my unemployment if I decline a temporary position?

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Am I still eligible for my unemployment if I decline a temporary position?

On April 29 I was placed on light duty at work due to pregnancy. My only restriction was a lifting restriction of 20 lbs. I was doing housekeeping at the time. My employer called and advised me that due to being a Workman’s Comp liability I could not report back to work and would have to go out on medical leave. After speaking with my doctor, he advised me that I do not need to go out on medical leave because I am still able to work. After telling my employer this she advised me that unless my doctor released me back to full duty I could not return to work. I filed for unemployment. My employer reported to unemployment that on 05/15 I went out on maternity leave. My termination papers say that I was no longer with the company as of 05/15 also. My unemployment case was put under review for 6 weeks until an adjudicator called and heard my side. They then found that I am available for work and granted me my unemployment. In the mean time on 05/18, after my termination date, I received an email from my employer stating that they may have a temporary office position available during the summer for a few weeks. I had just been on an interview a few days prior and was waiting to hear back if I was being offered the job or not. I called unemployment and asked if I was required to accept this temporary position from my previous employer and they advised me that I did not. After the temp position ended I would not have been eligible for unemployment, which is why they were offering it to me after I was already terminated. I have been receiving my unemployment and now received an appeals letter stating that I refused a light duty position with my previous employer. My question is whether or not I can be denied unemployment for denying the temp position that they had offered me.

Asked on August 10, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

Christopher LeClerc / LeClerc & LeClerc LLP

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I do not practice in Florida, but there appear to be serious legal violations here - and I'm not talking about your unemployment insurance.  An employer is required to reasonably accommodate medical restrictions and conditions arising out of or related to pregnancy.  It is my understanding, based on your post, that your medical restriction did not prevent you from performing the essential functions of your job and that your employer nevertheless terminated you based on some antiquated notion that you might be injured on the job and they are helping you out by slashing your salary and cutting your benefits. 

Your employer's termination of you reeks of pregnancy discrimination and you should immediately seek out an employment attorney in your area.

 


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