Dept. of Labor says Florida requirements to collect unemployment benefits was discriminatory

Beginning in August of 2011, the state of Florida changed the way that people claiming unemployment benefits had to file a claim. It could only be done on the Internet, as opposed to calling in one's hours as had always been the case, and new claimants now had to take an initial skills review test. But many of them were never told that, and as a result they found their claims for benefits being rejected.

That led to many people protesting those rejections, with a variety of legal aid groups crying foul, saying the changes were unfair. Apparently the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center agrees; the department has found the requirements to be discriminatory for Florida residents with limited English proficiency and those whose disabilities prevented them from successfully completing the online claims.

In fact, according to data from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in just the first three months the law took effect in 2011, 65 percent of claimants were denied unemployment benefits, a percentage rate three times higher than in the same period in 2010, and a stat that Governor Rick Scott's office was quite proud of.