Florida pays nearly $250,000 to settle firing lawsuit

Former employee claims she was fired after exposing 'cover up' operation

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MONTICELLO, Fla. - Florida is paying nearly $250,000 to settle a lawsuit with a former state employee who said she was fired for raising questions about the way the state treated people who received unemployment compensation payments.

The state calls the lawsuit by Diane Parcell "meritless." But a jury this spring sided with Parcell and her attorneys, concluding the state fired her in retaliation for her actions. The state later agreed to settle the case.

Parcell's attorneys said Monday that she was trying to expose a "cover up" and that her warnings were unheeded by both the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Governor's Office. They contend the state could be on the hook for millions.

The state agency that handles jobless benefits declined to answer detailed questions about the lawsuit.

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