Florida follows the common law at-will employment policy. At the core of the at-will employment doctrine is the ability of an employer to dismiss an employee at any time for any non-discriminatory reason or no reason at all, and without any warning. One significant exception to this doctrine is when an at-will employee’s dismissal violates an existing statute, for example, Florida’s whistleblower laws.
Florida has two whistleblower laws. One governs private-sector employees, while the other protects public-sector employees.
When an employee follows their legal obligations under the relevant whistleblower law to report or object to wrongdoing, that employee has protection against employer retaliation. Examples of retaliation include discharge, suspension, probation, demotion, a reduction in salary or diminished benefits, and related disciplinary actions.
If an employee believes their employer has retaliated against them for exercising their rights, they are entitled to substantive remedies. Such remedies include:
Private-sector employees may also seek compensatory damages for emotional distress.
There are two additional exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine worth noting:
The workers’ compensation and whistleblower acts provide remedies to all employees, both those at-will and those under contract. Thus, the remedies stated above are available to employees in addition to the rights and remedies stated within that employee’s employment contract.
Florida’s whistleblower and retaliation laws require all parties to follow specific steps to protect their rights. If you have questions about how to move forward in a whistleblower lawsuit, seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney.
This newsletter is for general information and education purposes only.
It is not offered as legal advice or legal opinion.
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