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Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy
Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

How Florida laws protect whistleblowers

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2020 | Employment Law |

Typically, the way Florida authorities learn that companies or company managers are breaking the law or taking advantage of others is when courageous employees come forward and report wrongdoing.

Not surprisingly, many employees are afraid to do so because they fear retaliation.

After all, if an employer really is breaking the law in some respect, they might also be willing to terminate or discipline employees in order to keep them quiet.

Even in cases where the employer’s illegal activities may have been the result of carelessness or an honest misunderstanding, the fact an employee reported the problem may lead to hard feelings. This is true all the more when an employee reports conduct that turned out to be legal.

In Florida, employees are protected from retaliation if the employee chooses to report, or even threatens to report, an employer’s violation of the law. In order to receive this protection, an employee must afford his or her employer the opportunity to correct the issue.

The report, or threatened report, must be in writing and sworn. Also, the employee’s report must be given to a government agency. Reports to the media or posting on one’s social media account do not qualify for protection.

Those in Broward County who happen to work for a state or local government agency, or who work for a firm that is contracted to do government work, may have additional protections available to them. In some cases, federal whistleblower laws may also apply to protect workers who choose to report their employers’ law violations.

Do you have questions?

Florida workers who feel that their employers punished them for cooperating with authorities may have legal options available to them and should consider speaking with an employment law attorney about their situation.