Do You Know Your Employee Rights?
Whistleblowing is a common theme in Hollywood. While it makes a thrilling story to see the struggle between an employee doing what’s right and an underhanded company, there’s really nothing amusing about retaliatory action against an employee for blowing the whistle on the illegal or dangerous actions of his employer in real life. Whistleblowers are protected by law against retaliatory employment actions in the State of Florida.
Who is Protected under Whistleblower Laws in Florida?
Public and private employees are protected from employer retaliation for whistleblowing in Florida. Employees can sue for reinstatement and be compensated for:
- back pay
- lost wages
- back and full benefits
- reduced or withheld bonuses
- reasonable costs
For privately-employed workers who seek protection under the Florida Whistleblower’s Act s/he must have disclosed, or threatened to disclose, an activity, policy, or practice of his or her employer that is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation. The employee is also required to give the employer notice of the violation, report the incident to a supervisor or the employer, and give the employer reasonable time and opportunity to correct the practice.
Many companies have instituted whistleblower hotline numbers as a safeguard against ethics violations and to allay the concerns of board members and investors. While reports on these hotlines are anonymous, often during the collection of details, an employee’s identity can be discovered. For this reason, callers to these numbers are protected as well.
If the employee follows the above protocol and is later retaliated against because of the disclosure, or threat to disclose, the employer has violated the law.
What is Employment Retaliation?
Employment retaliation takes on many forms. The most obvious is termination of employment. Often the employee is terminated for “other” causes. If you’ve reported an incident to your employer and were let go shortly after that, you owe it to yourself to speak with someone skilled in employment law. Let them ask the questions to help decide if you have a case.
Termination is not the only way employers retaliate against employees. Sometimes the retaliation is less direct. Retaliation can take the form of:
- Withheld bonuses or commissions and/or lower bonuses or commissions
- Getting passed over for a promotion or project
- A demotion
- Denying benefits
- Selective enforcement of workplace “rules”
- Stepped up Disciplinary action f
- Creating a hostile workplace
When to Call a Whistleblower Attorney in Florida
While acting as a whistleblower does not provide a free pass for the employee, if you have experienced a negative situation at your workplace and believe there is a possibility that it is related to your report, don’t keep guessing if the two are connected. Protect your employment rights and contact an aggressive workplace retaliation attorney. You don’t need to understand the nuances or interpretation of the law. Leave that to the Florida Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyers at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. With years of experience, they can help you understand your employee rights.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.