Whistleblower Law in Florida for Employers
Serving You and The State of Florida
The Florida Whistleblower Law was created to allow employees to report their employer for unethical acts. This law is meant to ensure that an employee who “blows the whistle” on activities at a place of business is not the victim of retaliation for the act of suing the company in question. There is a burden of proof that must be met for the case to be taken before a judge and for a lawsuit to be considered viable.
For employers in Florida, this kind of case can be complex to respond to. These cases can also take a really long time to be decided, and the fact that this kind of accusation exists at all can be hard on a company’s reputation. Working with a skilled lawyer that is experienced in whistleblower cases is key. The employment lawyers at Lopez Law Group has years of experience working on these kinds of cases and can help represent your business as you navigate the lawsuit process.
What is the Whistleblower Act?
The Florida Whistleblower Act allows employees to reveal unlawful or unethical practices in the workplace without fear of retribution. However, there are limitations to the protection of this law. This law does not go into effect if the employee has notified the employer via management or if management has taken action to rectify the problem.
Employees who utilize this act to report unethical practices in the workplace will need to be able to prove that the action in question is unethical. This means that there are many whistleblower cases that do not make it to settlement hearings or to court. However, if the burden of proof has been met, the employer will need to proceed with the settlement or court hearing process as outlined by Florida Law.
What Are the Legal Elements of a Whistleblower Claim?
Whistleblower claims require that the burden of proof is met for the case to stand. These requirements are:
- The employee engaged in certain types of statutorily protected actions that are connected with wrongdoing by the company in question.
- The disclosing employee suffered adversely as a result of the actions that were taken.
- There was a causal relationship between the employee’s disclosure and the adverse action that was taken against the employee.
Statutorily protected activities are the actions that employers cannot retaliate against any employee who does the following:
- Discloses or threatens to disclose employer conduct that is in violation of legal standards. These might be rules, statutes, or regulations. The employee will be required to provide the employer with written notice and an opportunity to remedy the involved violation.
- Provides information or takes the step to testify before the government pursuant to an ongoing investigation into the legal infraction or employer misconduct.
- Has objected to or refused to join employer conduct that violates laws, rules, and regulations.
Examples of this kind of action might be disclosing illegal employer actions in a written or signed complaint, participating in a government investigation, refusing to take part in illegal actions that are demanded of employees, and verbally refusing to take part in activities or actions that are not legal.
An adverse employment outcome is something like a demotion, harassment, or creation of a hostile work environment, or things like pay cuts and passing over the employee for a promotion. Firing or laying off the employee is also one of these kinds of actions.
What Can a Lawyer Do for Whistleblower Lawsuits?
Having a lawyer representing you for this kind of case is critical. Your lawyer will make sure that the entire situation surrounding the whistleblowing action is investigated and that all of the relevant information has been collected to look at the case. Defenses against Whistleblower cases are possible and can yield favorable outcomes for Florida business owners.
· Lack of Causal Connection
In many cases, the burden of proof is not met in these kinds of cases. If an employee was released from their job due to poor performance at work or other kinds of issues unrelated to their whistleblowing actions, they cannot sue for retaliation.
· Statute of Limitations Violations
There is a specific period of time that employees have to file these kinds of lawsuits. If the employee does not take the time to initiate a lawsuit within these time limitations, they will not be able to take action against an employer. In some cases, the statute is only two years, which many employees are not aware of.
· No Written Notice
If the employee did not provide written notice before they disclosed the illegal employer action, they cannot sue a business for retaliation. This is a common issue with these cases, and it can be one of the main factors that a case dismissal depends upon.
Working With a Skilled Legal Team Matters
If you have been accused of violating whistleblower laws in the state of Florida, you will need to make sure that you secure the help of a skilled lawyer right away. Working with an experienced legal team can make all the difference in the outcome of your case when it comes to retaliation claims. Due to the vast amount of information that is required to try these cases and to defend against these actions, you should never try to go it alone when you are sued for this kind of action.
The team at the Lopez Law Group has many years of experience with whistleblower cases. You can count on us to take care of all of the various steps that are needed to investigate your case, and we will be happy to work hard on your behalf to secure a favorable settlement. If the case goes to court, we will be sure that your side of the story is correctly presented.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We are eager to get to work on your whistleblower case and help you seek a favorable outcome or even a dismissal of the suit.
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