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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It's a shame that this was not disclosed to you prior to being hired. Unless you were given some assurance of the time that you would be hired for (that is, 1 year, etc...) then you wouldn't have a case against the employer. 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.
In short, at will employment means that when you quit one job to go work for another employer, you're running the risk that the second employer will fire you and you'll be out of work, even though you left the first employer to do so.Even though these policies are illogical, it's still legal for them to have, and there's no legal duty for them to disclose them to you prior to you applying or accepting the job.
Now if the offer letter did actually specify a time period of employment, or guaranteed that you would be terminated only "for cause", then you might have a case. But most likely it doesn't (I rarely run across such a situation where an offer letter actually results in an employment contract
As for unemployment, that's a bit more difficult. It all hinges upon whether the second employer would be seen as an "employing unit". If you were actually employed, even for a day, then that wouldn't be an issue. But this happened before work. Now you had a reasonable expectation of a job, so personally I think that you have a good argument, and it couldn't hurt to file for unemployment benefits
. To get benefits, you need to show that you're unemployed due to no fault of your own, essentially. In truth a disqualifying factor would be if you voluntarily quit without good cause attributable to your employer (your last employing unit). So ultimately it would depend on whether the unemployment board would see your first or your second employer as the last employing unit. If the first, then you would have quit, and therefore no unemployment benefits. If the second, they would have let you go, and therefore employment benefits.
It's impossible to say how they're going to rule, but frankly I think that you have a good argument and you should still file.
Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!