State and federal laws, including Florida's Whistleblower Protection Act and the federal False Claims Act, offer protections to employees who blow the whistle on supervisors and managers who willingly engage in illegal or unethical activity. However, to be afforded full protection under the law, an employee must go through the proper channels when reporting a violation.
In a series of ongoing reports, we've been discussing how those state employees who uncover some manner of dangerous and/or illegal conduct on the part of their employer do have options for reporting their discovery without fear of retaliation (i.e., poor performance reviews, demotion, termination, etc.).
Last time, we discussed how state employees who learn about some type of dangerous or illegal activity being committed by their employer often feel as if they are left with only two options: 1) ignore it or 2) report it.
The unfortunate reality is that when employees learn of some type of dangerous or even illegal activity being perpetrated by their employer, they often feel as if they are left with few options, none of which are favorable.
Workers in Florida who report the illegal conduct or fraud of their employers are generally protected from being fired for doing so under federal or state employment laws. Such workers are called whistle-blowers, and whistle-blowers tend to be protected from experiencing retaliation for blowing the whistle. This does still happen, but when workers are fired for blowing a whistle they may seek job reinstatement and financial compensation.
Whistle-blower is a term given to those who step forward to report illegal activity by their employer. The wrongdoing can fall under any number of Florida state laws or federal laws, such as environmental violations or tax fraud, and unfortunately whistle-blowers are often retaliated against or even fired by their employers. There are laws that protect whistle-blowers, however, and there is a course of legal action for those who have been retaliated against.
Last week in this employment law blog, we discussed the risks of blowing the whistle on an employer's wrongdoing in Florida. This week, we have a real-life example.
Those who follow employment law news in South Florida may have noticed many stories lately about whistle blowers netting large settlements. The term "whistle blower" is generally used to describe an employee who exposes or reports the wrongdoing of his or her employer.
The Florida Whistleblower Act protects employees, in both the private and public sector, from being terminated or retaliated against for reporting illegal activity. The details of the whistleblower law apply different standards to employees of the government as opposed to employees of private companies, but all employees are generally protected from being fired or treated unfairly for speaking up.
Employees in Florida who identify safety and health concerns in the workplace are protected by whistleblower protection laws. This means that an employee in Florida cannot be fired or treated unfairly due to bringing up a safety complaint. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational and Health Administration recently sued a school in Manatee County, Florida, after learning of a whistleblower violation.