NOTE: Chapman Law Group does not represent licensed healthcare professionals in employment law matters such as Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), retaliation/wrongful discharge, workplace harassment, wage/hour, employment discrimination, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These are matters for which we recommend you contact a lawyer whose focus is on general labor and employment law.
Licensed health care professionals face a double-edged sword when they are terminated from their jobs. First, they receive letters of investigation from their licensing boards — such as the Board of Nursing, Board of Medicine, and Board of Dentistry — concerning their professional licenses.
Second, their claims for unemployment compensation are denied because the former employer tells, for example, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) that the individual is not eligible for unemployment benefits. This is because they were terminated for cause.
When you, a healthcare provider, apply for unemployment benefits, you become a “claimant.” After the FDEO investigates your claim, an adjudicator issues a notice approving or disapproving the payment of benefits. This notice/determination is the initial ruling as to whether a claimant will be paid or denied benefits. Adverse formal notices/determinations create appellate rights for the claimant. They serve as the “point of entry” into the unemployment assistance appeals process.
Fortunately, you can appeal the FDEO’s decision. However, the process is complicated, and you will need to retain an experienced healthcare-based attorney to assist you. If you lose your appeal, you stand to go without financial assistance (money) to support your family and yourself until you find a new job.
If you are a licensed health care provider and you have been dismissed from your job at a medical practice without just cause (i.e., misconduct), you should be eligible for unemployment compensation. An employer can fight and win the appeal if they terminated a health care employee for job-related misconduct, and if the medical entity employer previously warned the healthcare employee that their job was in jeopardy. Chapman Law Group has contested many unemployment issues for health care professionals.
We at Chapman Law Group help healthcare providers win unemployment appeals, because our healthcare attorneys have experience with appeal hearings. The key to an effective appeal is proper preparation for the telephonic hearing with the Appeals Referee, and the Unemployment Appeals hearing before the Appeals Referee is a critical step in the process. This is the only opportunity a nurse, radiologist, cosmetologist, physical therapist, or any other licensed healthcare professional, will have to introduce evidence to prove their case and obtain the unemployment benefits they are entitled to receive.
A claimant who receives an adverse notice/determination has the right to protest that notice/determination and to participate in a hearing before an Appeals Referee. Upon receiving an appeal from a terminated employee (claimant), the Office of Appeals schedules a hearing. The Office of Appeals notices all interested parties, so the parties can appear and address the issues. The parties will be mailed a Notice of Hearing, telling them when the hearing will be held and whether they are expected to participate in-person or by telephone.
Appeals hearings are evidentiary hearings, meaning that documentary evidence and testimony is presented by each side. It is important to note that if the termination from a healthcare practice or medical facility was due to alleged “misconduct,” the initial burden of proving misconduct to deny benefits is always on the healthcare employer. Not only is the burden of proof on the healthcare employer, the proof must be by a preponderance of the evidence.
Unemployment Appeals Hearings are adversarial proceedings. The Referee will examine you, the healthcare employer’s witnesses, and the available evidence. Chapman Law Group prepares you in advance of the hearing, so that you are confident and ready to answer questions.
During the Unemployment Appeals hearing, your healthcare attorney from Chapman Law Group will examine (i.e. question) your healthcare employer’s witnesses, offer witnesses for your side, submit documentary evidence, and submit legal and/or factual reasons as to why you are entitled to receive benefits. At the end of the hearing, Chapman Law Group will make a closing statement of your behalf.
Misconduct is defined under Florida statutes and case law. It is important for an employee to have an experienced healthcare-oriented attorney, like those at Chapman Law Group, representing him/her during an appeals hearing, who is familiar with the law in this area.
For example, the alleged diversion of medications can be considered misconduct and a basis for denying unemployment benefits to a healthcare provider. However, proof of the diversion must be clearly proven by the healthcare employer. The healthcare employer must provide records and/or documentation showing that medications were withdrawn and not administered to the patient, and that it was the fault of the healthcare employee.
Chapman Law Group knows the hearing process and your rights as a party during the hearing. We make sure that you are provided all your rights including:
After Chapman Law Group presents all of your evidence and testimony to the Appeals Referee, the Referee makes a decision based solely upon the evidence and testimony presented during the hearing. Therefore, if you are a licensed health care professional, it is critical that you hire an experienced healthcare attorney who knows how to get all of the proper information in front of the Appeals Referee. When the hearing ends, the Referee issues a written decision.
If you are in a situation involving unemployment compensation, contact us today and we will review your case. With four national offices — Detroit; Sarasota, Florida; Miami; and Los Angeles/Southern California — we’re here to help with your unemployment compensation matter.
REMINDER: The attorneys at Chapman Law Group do not represent licensed health care professionals for standard employment law matters such as retaliation/wrongful discharge, workplace harassment, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employment discrimination, and wage/hour disputes. If your case involves any of these, you will need to contact a different attorney or law firm whose focus is solely on employment.