Protecting Whistleblowers Throughout Florida & Texas
Whistleblowers are individuals who “blow the whistle” on employers by disclosing the unlawful or unethical activities of those employers. These individuals are protected from any form of retaliation by employers for bringing attention to their company’s wrongdoing. Whistleblowers are protected by both federal and state laws and can include individuals who work for federal agencies, state agencies, or other public and private companies. The regulations that apply to these different categories of workers will differ which is why it is vital to turn to a firm that understands the various laws that may apply to your situation. You will want to ensure that you follow the necessary requirements for whistleblowing and earn the protections you need under these laws.
The Employment Lawyers is a firm that has dedicated its entire practice to employment law. We fight to protect the rights of employees every day and, through our exclusive focus on this legal area, have gained substantial experience, knowledge, connections, and skills. We take on even the most complex and difficult disputes, even if other lawyers have turned you away. If you need legal help concerning a potential whistleblower issue or if you have already disclosed illegal activity and are facing employer retaliation, our competent and caring legal team is here to provide the advice, guidance, and representation you need.
Whistleblower Actions & Protections in Florida
Under Florida’s whistleblower law, both employees and persons can act as whistleblowers through the following actions:
- Disclosing information of wrongdoing on their own through a written complaint
- Participating in an investigation into company wrongdoing
- Filing a written complaint with a supervisor
- Filing a complaint with a state agency such as the Florida Commission on Human Relations, the Whistleblower’s Hotline, the Office of the Chief Inspector General, or the Agency Inspector General
- Refusing to participate in any type of activity that violates the law
Wrongdoing on the part of implicated employers are actions that “create a substantial and specific danger to the public’s health, safety, or welfare.” This can include “improper use of governmental office, gross waste of funds, or any other abuse or gross neglect of duty on the part of an agency, public officer, or employee.” Examples of whistleblowing can include disclosing Medicare/Medicaid fraud, other types of fraud, accounting irregularities, racial discrimination, corruption, harassment, government contract overcharging, tax evasion, and violations of environmental law.
Those who wish to disclose the wrongdoing of an employer must file a complaint with an agency that has been authorized to investigate and remedy the situation. Our firm can provide the guidance you need related to where and how to send complaints against public, private, and federal entities.
Those who file whistleblower claims are protected under the law from any type of adverse action taken against them by their employer. This includes harassment, demotion, termination, layoff, discipline, reassignment, refusal to hire, denial of benefits, reduction of hours or pay, threats, or intimidation. If you have experienced an adverse action, you will be subject to time limits on filing a complaint; these time limits will depend on the specifics of your situation.
Under Florida law, if you suffer retaliation from an employer, you may be entitled to reinstatement of your job and benefits, compensation for lost income and benefits, damages for the retaliation, and legal fees.
OSHA Whistleblower Protections
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) also provides a whistleblower protection program that enforces over 20 federal laws. Employees cannot be retaliated against for “raising or reporting concerns about hazards or violations of various workplace safety and health” laws. Protections apply to those disclosing safety concerns in aviation, consumer products, commercial motor carriers, food, health insurance, motor vehicles, public transportation, pipelines, railroads, maritime, and more. Employees who face retaliation for their disclosures can file complaints with OSHA. The Employment Lawyers can provide assistance for whistleblowers through the OSHA program.
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