Many employees in Florida wonder whether the state has laws that protect them from retaliation if they “blow the whistle” on illegal practices they see on the job. There are two laws that could apply—the Florida Private Whistleblower Act and the Florida Public Whistleblower Act.
Workers who have faced wrongful termination or other forms of retaliation may be entitled to substantial relief including compensation. However, time limits to file a claim can be short, so if you are dealing with retaliation, it is a good idea to seek advice from an employment law attorney in Florida as soon as possible to preserve your rights.
Who is protected under the whistleblower laws?
The public whistleblower law protects employees and independent contractors who work for state, regional, or local government entities. The Private Whistleblower Act applies to employees who work for private companies with ten or more employees, although it may be possible to challenge retaliation by smaller businesses.
What is whistleblowing?
The different statutes define whistleblowing in various ways. In the private whistleblowing statute, for instance, employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who:
- Object or refuse to participate in conduct that violates the law
- Testify or provide information to the government in an investigation of employer wrongdoing
- Disclose or threaten to disclose conduct that violates legal standards
The statute protecting government employees and contractors has a more specific definition of the types of wrongdoing that qualify for protection when an employee blows the whistle on that practice. An employment law attorney could review a situation to determine whether you engaged in activity that was protected under the law.
Can you be retaliated against for whistleblowing?
The whistleblowing statutes serve an important public policy objective by making it easier for employees to report illegal activities. Under the laws, employers are not supposed to retaliate against employees who take steps to make authorities aware of law violations. Retaliation can take many forms, including:
- Cutting pay or demoting an employee to a lower rank
- Providing an unfair negative performance evaluation
- Denying benefits
- Laying off or terminating employment
- Harassing the employee or allowing a hostile work environment to flourish
- Passing up a qualified employee for promotion
- Assigning undesirable shifts or job tasks
Retaliation can often be subtle but still illegal.
An Employment Law Attorney in Florida Protects Whistleblowers
Whistleblower laws in Florida provide numerous remedies if your employer retaliated against you for refusing to participate in illegal activity or bringing unlawful practices to light. You could receive compensation, reinstatement, promotion or other relief. Talk to a knowledgeable whistleblower protection lawyer in Florida for a free case evaluation to learn what may be possible in your case.