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Florida Labor & Employment Lawyer > Blog > Employment Law > Are State Government Employees Protected By Whistleblower Laws in Florida?

Are State Government Employees Protected By Whistleblower Laws in Florida?


There are more than 160,000 state government employees in Florida. State policy encourages good government and there are specialized rules and regulations that apply to state employees. This raises an important question: Are state workers protected by whistleblower laws in Florida? The short answer is “yes”—the Florida Public Whistleblower Act protects state and municipal government employees. In this article, you will find an overview of the key things that state workers should know about the rights under the law.

Key Protection: Florida Public Whistleblower Act Bars Retaliation 

Why would a state employee be worried about reporting fraud, corruption, or another violation? The most common reason is that they are concerned that they will lose their job or otherwise be punished by their employer. The Florida Public Whistleblower Act is designed to prevent this type of issue. Indeed, the law stands as a robust defense for state employees who bravely come forward to expose any instances of illegal or unethical behavior within government agencies—including by private contractors. It is vital legislation guarantees that when you, as a state employee, make the courageous decision to report wrongdoing, you are shielded from retaliation.

 Three Key Elements Workers Must Prove in a Whistleblower Retaliation Case 

How does a state employee prove that he or she was subject to unlawful whistleblower retaliation in Florida? Under the law, there are three required elements:

  1. Protected Activity (Whistleblower Conduct): The first element requires the employee to prove that they engaged in a protected activity. Protected activities can vary, but they generally include reporting illegal or unethical practices within the organization, participating in an investigation, or refusing to partake in illegal activities.
  2. Adverse Employment Action: The second element is proving that the employer took adverse employment action against the employee. This doesn’t just mean getting fired. Adverse actions can also encompass demotions, salary reductions, significant changes in job responsibilities, or other negative employment decisions that materially affect the employee’s job status or conditions.
  3. A Causal Connection Between the Two: The final element ties the first two together by requiring the employee to demonstrate a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. A state worker must show that the adverse action was taken because of the employee’s protected whistleblower conduct. It can be one of the most challenging parts of a whistleblower retaliation case, as employers will often try to conjure up pretextual (false) reasoning to justify the adverse action. Timing can be crucial here. A close temporal proximity between the whistleblower activity and the adverse employment action often strengthens the case for a causal connection.

 Through a whistleblower retaliation claim, a state worker in Florida can seek a number of different remedies, including compensation for back pay, mental distress, and other damages.

 Get Help From an Employment Lawyer in Florida 

State employees in Florida have strong legal protections under whistleblower laws. If you are a Florida state employee and you have any questions about your rights as a whistleblower, please do not hesitate to contact a qualified employment attorney for immediate assistance.

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