Can I get unemployment if I was fired for getting a DUI?
Updated : December 9th, 2022
“Can I get unemployment if I got fired for getting arrested for a DUI?”
Posted by Luci (Pompano Beach, FL)
I have not been convicted of the DUI. But I missed 10 days of work because I could not get out of jail. My work was called immediately to let them know. When I got out they told me they could no longer keep me. I’m not sure if I was fired or laid off.
You were fired. And probably not directly because you were in jail for a DUI. Since you have not yet been convicted yet, it may be safe to assume you were fired for violation of the employer’s attendance policy.
The reason for termination should in fact be for something considered, misconduct connected with the work.
Now, although Florida does not have an adjudication manual available, or a special provision in law for those who admit to a compulsion to drink, I can tell you what I think your problem with benefits will be.
Attending work when scheduled and on time is an employee’s responsibility. This includes following the call-off procedure and the possibility you are already laboring under a formal written warning for attendance if you did manage to call into work. However, if you no called/no showed for two days or more, that is more likely something that should be adjudicated as a voluntary quit by job abandonment.
But let’s lay this aside for a moment to understand why in states such as California, or Colorado the special provision might work.
A person that becomes too sick to work suddenly and winds up in the hospital can also be fired merely because most work in America is of the at-will variety. However, for purposes of UI, there is a big question mark as to whether the discharge is for work related misconduct, mostly because the circumstances and the illness are beyond the employee’s control.
In California and Colorado, admitting that one has a compulsion to drink, is admitting to the illness of alcoholism and completion of a 12 step program is like seeking treatment, which can be good cause for the UI dept. to lift a disqualification of benefits.
Florida has no such loophole in UI law for alcoholics – functioning employees or not.
However, you raise a valid point about not being convicted .. yet. Now, as I said, Florida doesn’t explain or mention your situation specifically in their statutes, but in other states, an unemployment hearing can be postponed until the charge is resolved, therefore, a
not guilty may show the incarceration and by virtue, the job loss, was in fact beyond your control.
Understand? I think it is dependent on whether you were rightfully or wrongfully incarcerated for a DUI and whether you are managed to come out of that unscathed.
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