Part-time job leaves Tampa man stuck in DEO return-to-work ‘nightmare’

Former medical job recruiter worked 25 hours, triggering jobless benefits denial

An unemployed Tampa travel nurse recruiter has been blocked from state unemployment benefits after working 25 hours as a customer service phone representative.

Seth Davis, 31, told News 6 his fight to get unemployment benefits reinstated has been a “total nightmare” since he worked one week taking customer service calls before being dismissed.

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“They asked about 40 of us to clock out early,” Davis recalled. “And they gave us a call later that evening to let us we had been terminated.”

Davis said he worked as a job recruiter for the last five and half years with a small company called Harmony Medical.

When COVID-19 hit, he was handling the job from home but eventually was let go.

Davis said his search for a new recruiting position has been frustrating and left his financial status grim.

He received an eviction notice in February and this week decided to sell his 2005 Jaguar sedan for $3,000 to cover mounting expenses.

“I sold it two days ago, unfortunately, because I haven’t received a check in the mail from unemployment,” he said.

The Department of Economic Opportunity posted a notice on his DEO Connect account that his request for benefits would have to be reviewed by a state adjudicator.

The adjudication process is usually scheduled in six weeks but, according to Davis, that time has passed.

“I haven’t gotten any calls back or any emails,” Davis told News 6. “I was getting $275 (in weekly benefits) and I haven’t gotten any money since January.”

Make Ends Meet presented Davis’ job history to the DEO reemployment team this week.

The records reviewed by News 6 indicate his current DEO account is active and eligible with roughly $2,500 in benefits still available.

“It’s been so frustrating,” Davis said. “I can’t tell you how many times I made the call to unemployment get on the phone and get no response, I just want to pull my hair out.”

If you have an unemployment issue email or text the words Make ends meet to 407-676-7428.

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.