Retaliation For Whistleblowing In Florida
In addition to the law protecting certain employees from unlawful discrimination and harassment, employees deemed to be “whistleblowers” are protected from retaliation by their employer. A whistleblower is someone who discloses information regarding unlawful, dishonest, harmful, or otherwise wrong activity by someone within their employment organization. Protecting whistleblowers is critical to ensure that individuals are not afraid to come forward and report activity to protect the interests of the government or the safety of the public. Both federal and Florida state laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation, however, many employers violate these laws. The following are some examples of recent whistleblower violations in Florida and across the U.S.
- A prison guard for the Department of Corrections was fired after reporting that another guard brutally assaulted an inmate.
- Several investigators for the office of the Inspector General for the Department of Corrections brought a legal case alleging they experienced many different types of retaliation after reporting that the Inspector General covered up attacks on inmates, suspicious fatalities in the prisons, and other wrongful activities. Six investigators reported they were relocated, harassed, investigated, and threatened with termination if they refused to sign confidentiality agreements.
- An officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) claims he was terminated after he reported information implicating wrongful actions by another officer while on duty. Reportedly, he was offered a reinstatement with many conditions including a transfer, pay cut, demotion, and lengthy probation.
- A financial analysis and planning vice president for entertainment company Viacom Inc. alleges she was terminated after she actively opposed attempts by the company to unlawfully evade paying licensing taxes involving the film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She was terminated while she was on maternity leave and the company tried to justify the firing by citing an error on her benefits documents regarding her child’s father.
The above are only some of many examples of both public and private employers violating whistleblower protections in order to continue to cover up misconduct or punish those who report such misconduct. In many situations–such as the Viacom case–the employer will cite a pretextual reason for the termination, demotion, or other form of retaliation. In such cases, the whistleblower will have to demonstrate that the reason given was only pretextual and that the whistleblowing was the true reason behind the retaliation.
These cases can be very complex, however, whistleblowers who prevail in their legal claims are often entitled to a substantial amount of recovery including reinstatement to their position, lost wages, and other forms of compensation.
Discuss A Possible Case With A Plantation, Florida Whistleblower Attorney Today
If you reported information regarding wrongful conduct of your employer or of a co-worker and you believe that you were the victim of unlawful retaliation as a result, your first call should be to a highly experienced whistleblowing lawyer to discuss your rights. At the law office of Florida employment lawyer Robert S. Norell, we have helped protect the rights of many employees who have been wronged in many situations. Please call us today at 800-796-0849 to find out more about how we can help you.