Legal Alert: Important Changes to Florida's Unemployment Compensation Law

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Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed new unemployment compensation legislation broadening the meaning of misconduct and adding additional requirements claimants must meet to be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

On June 27, 2011, Governor Scott signed into law significant reforms to Florida's Unemployment Compensation Law. Included in these reforms is the new definition of misconduct provided by the Agency for Workforce Innovation. The Agency now defines misconduct as: "any action that demonstrates conscious disregard of an employer's interests and is found to be a deliberate disregard or violation of reasonable standards of behavior, and may include activities that did not occur at the workplace or during working hours." Notably, this broader definition extends misconduct to activities that occur during an employee's personal time outside of the workplace. The new law also makes it easier for employers to prove misconduct by reducing the standard from "willful and wanton disregard" of an employer's interests, to "conscious disregard of an employer's interest."

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