Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Unless you were specifically targeted based upon your race, age, religion, gender, or disability, the only options that you would have would be if your employer were to take you back. Otherwise, the "at will" employment doctrine would apply. Florida is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion. So the change in your job description, even if they knew that you would have trouble doing it, is perfectly legal. You would not have a case against them for wrongful termination or anything else (again, unless you could show that it was done based upon your race, age, religion, gender, or disability), or was in violation of a clear written employment policy or an employment contract.
I know that this is probably not what you want to hear, but it is the law. I hope that it clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!
What exactly does without a contract mean? I did sign a contract when I was first employed. Also, does this mean that I cannot file for unemployment?
If you had a contract that was necessarily violated (that is, a contract that said that a certain set of requirements were going to be in place for a specific period of time (i.e. 1 year, 2 years, etc...) then that could be such a contract. But it would have to give you a clear set of rights for a specific period of time.
(and it would have to be violated...)
That would then be a breach of contract.
As for unemployment, that's a bit more complicated. Generally speaking, if you find yourself unemployed due to your own fault (i.e. resign, quit, etc...) then you would not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Unemployment is available to employees that find themselves unemployed due to no fault of their own. But if there was a material change in your job description, pay, etc... such that it essentially amounted to a new job, you could still qualify for unemployment benefits, even if you quit.
So I would still file for unemployment benefits. Understand that the employer could contest it, and you might need to appeal, but generally speaking a change in the terms of employment will allow a "quit for cause" situation where you could qualify for unemployment benefits.
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