The Florida Whistle-Blower’s Act provides protection against employees who file a claim against their own employers for discrimination. A “whistle-blower” is a person who reports their employer for a violation; retaliating against a whistle blower is illegal. Thus, employers may not fire employees simply due to the fact that they have filed a complaint, even if it turns out that the employer wasn’t liable.
Who May File a Whistle Blower Retaliation Complaint?
The Florida Whistle Blower’s Act applies to employees who have been hired by the state of Florida, and need relief due to employment discrimination retaliation. It also applies to persons who are in the process of applying for work with the state of Florida or with a Florida-operated state agency.
For non-state employees, there are other avenues of protection and filing a complaint. These may be directed towards a federal agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An alternative way to file a whistle blower claim would be to file a private lawsuit, though there are some restrictions on who can file a lawsuit.
Whether you are filing with the state of Florida, a federal agency, or with a civil court, you will likely need a lawyer for help throughout the legal process.
How Do I File a Complaint Under the Florida Whistle-Blower’s Act?
You will first need to file with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). This agency will then conduct the necessary investigation, mediation, and determinations to see if you qualify for a legal remedy (such as a damages award, or reinstatement to your position).
The process may also involve you submitting whatever evidence and proof you have of the retaliation. You will be required to submit a questionnaire in relation to your claim.
The filing deadline for Whistleblower claims under Florida’s Act is 60 days after the retaliation occurred. Thus, you need to act quickly if you have a definite claim for whistleblower retaliation. This is much different from FCHR deadlines for other claims (like discrimination), which can be as long as one year.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With the Whistle Blower Laws in Florida?
Filing any type of employment-related claim can be a challenging effort. It is in your best interests to hire a employment lawyer if you believe that you have a whistle blower claim. Your attorney can guide you through the process of filing, which will help you obtain the legal remedy that applies for your case.