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Our team of fraud fighters here at Tycko & Zavareei LLP has extensive experience working with whistleblowers in Florida.
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Florida Whistleblower Laws

When you first accepted your job at the current company you are working for, you likely had high hopes and high expectations for the business itself. Despite that expectation, you may have quickly realized that things within the organization are not as they appear to be.

Fighting Fraud in Florida

If you do witness wrongdoing or instances of fraud after you get hired, then how should you handle it?

Thousands of good-intentioned Floridians find themselves asking that same question each year, and few realize that there are specific laws in place in Florida that can protect you if you decide to sound the alarm about the fraudulent situation. Learn more about whistleblower laws and protections in Florida, how you can use them to your advantage, and how the attorneys here at Tycko & Zavareei LLP can help you every step of the way.

What is the Florida False Claims Act?

When fraud happens at a large scale or within an organization, it can feel intimidating for an individual to come forward about what is happening. For that reason, the State of Florida has specific whistleblower laws in place to encourage and protect whistleblowers.

Employees who witness fraud have the right to report that wrongdoing in good faith to the proper authorities without the fear of retaliation from their employers. The types of organizational fraud or wrongdoing covered under the Florida False Claims Act include:

Under this act, whistleblowers who report the wrongdoing have the right to file a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the state. When the details you provide about the wrongdoing meet the criteria to fall under the scope of this whistleblower law, the law allows you to keep your identity confidential unless the disclosure of your identity is necessary for the investigation.

Florida Private Whistleblower Act: How it Works

One important aspect of Florida’s whistleblower laws is that they protect whistleblowers who are speaking out about both public and private employers. The Federal False Claims Act and other federal whistleblowing protections apply to public employees only. Under Florida’s laws, private employers can be held accountable when a whistleblower outs them for:

  • Actions by the employer that harm the environment
  • Actions that threaten public safety or health
  • Tax fraud
  • Any action that breaks state laws
  • Healthcare fraud

These laws, particularly the Florida Private Whistleblower Act, also provide protections for private whistleblowers that are similar to the protections afforded to public whistleblowers. Private employers are not permitted to demote, terminate, harass, cut pay, issue unfair negative evaluations, or otherwise adversely impact the employee’s position at the company due to the whistleblowing report.

How Do Florida Laws Protect Whistleblowers?

When employees witness fraud or wrongdoing in their organizations, they are immediately faced with an ethical quandary. Whistleblowers are forced to wrestle with whether they should be loyal to their company and co-workers or pursue justice.

The good news is that Florida’s whistleblower laws help provide protections to whistleblowers to help make pursuing fairness and justice a more attractive option. If you follow the terms of the law when it comes to reporting the wrongdoing, then you should be able to have legal protection from employer retaliation in the form of:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Harassment
  • Pay cuts
  • Failing to promote the employee
  • Unfair negative work evaluations

This list does not contain every action that would be considered retaliation under Florida’s whistleblower laws. Any adverse action that impacts your career and is committed in response to your reporting of the wrongdoing could be considered retaliation.

Seeking Legal Recourse after Employer Retaliation

If you believe that your employer unfairly and illegally retaliated against you after you blew the whistle on your organization’s fraud, then you might have recourse under Florida’s whistleblower laws. Depending on the action taken against you, you may be eligible to receive compensation in the form of:

  • Back pay
  • Financial compensation for lost benefits
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Emotional distress

If you were fired, then it is also possible for courts to order the employer to reinstate you to your previous position.

To get a better understanding of your legal rights and options, consider working with our nationally ranked qui tam law firm.

How a Whistleblower Benefits from Reporting Wrongdoing

The most obvious benefit of reporting a fraudulent act by your organization is ensuring justice is served. Your organization should never gain an unfair advantage by bending the law. By doing your part, you are doing the morally right thing.

Another significant benefit of pursuing a qui tam claim is that there could potentially be a financial reward. If the information you provide in your report later leads to a successful claim and the State of Florida intervenes, then you might be eligible to claim up to 25 percent of the settlement amount. If the information you provide leads to a successful claim and the State of Florida does not intervene, then you could claim up to 30 percent of the settlement amount. You can get a better idea of how much these types of settlements may be worth by looking at our firm’s past whistleblower success stories.

Are You Considering Blowing the Whistle in Florida?

Clearly, there are pretty big potential rewards for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing within an organization in Florida. Sounding the alarm does, however, come with potential risks, too. Thankfully, if you report the wrongdoing in the right way to the proper authorities, then you should be protected under Florida’s many whistleblower laws.

Just because laws exist, though, does not mean that your employer will not break them. They may still attempt to retaliate against you. Even worse, they might have a legal right to retaliate against you if you failed to take the proper steps when you first blew the whistle on your company. To ensure that you take all the right steps at the right time, it might make the most sense to consult with a strong whistleblower attorney before you make your move.

If you are considering acting on the fraud you witnessed, then we would like to invite you to schedule a consultation with our lawyers to learn more about your legal rights and options moving forward.

How can we help you?

Confidential Case Evaluation

Our experienced qui tam attorneys are available for a confidential, no-cost, no-commitment, initial evaluation of your case. Call us now at (202) 973-0900, or begin the process by completing our Confidential Case Evaluation Form.
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