Serving North Pinellas including Crystal Beach, Clearwater, Countryside, Dunedin, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor and Tarpon Springs.
There is no common law action in Florida for wrongful termination. This is true regardless of the length of employment or the reason for the firing. Whistleblowers, however, enjoy protection from wrongful termination. Employers should consult with legal counsel before taking any adverse action against an employee who has engaged in whistleblower activities.
Florida's law applies to employers having ten or more employees. Independent contractors are not covered. The law covers three distinct types of whistleblower activities:
1, Disclosing, or threatening to disclose, to any appropirate governmental agency, under oath, in writing, an activity, policy or practice of the employer that is in violation of a law, rule or regulation. In order to qualify, the employee must first provide written notice to the employer and provide a reasonable time to permit the employer to remedy the practice.
2. Providing information to or testifying before any appropriate governmental agency, person or entity conductino an investigation, hearing or inquiry into an alleged violation of a law, rule or regulation by the employer.
3. Objecting to or refusing to participate in any activity, policy or practice of the employer which is in violation of a law, rule or regulation.
The appropriate governmental agency means the agency charged with the enforcement of the law. Thus, if an employee reports the violation to the wrong agency the employee will not receive whistleblower status. Furthermore, the violation must be of a law, rule or regulation. Violations of company policy don't qualify. Neither do violations of court orders, contracts and even a govenor's order don't qualify.
An employee who has been fired or otherwise relaliated against may file suit in the county in which the employee resides, where the retaliatory action happened or where the employer has its regular place of busines. Either the employer or employee may request a jury trial. A prevailing employee may receive injunctive relief, reinstatement, lost wages, lost benefits and other compensatory damages and attorneys' fees.
I represent employers in labor and employment law matters. Consultations are always without charge. Referrals are always appreciated.