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Florida Labor & Employment Lawyer > Blog > Whistleblower > Law Enforcement Official in Florida Terminated After Seeing Whistleblower Status

Law Enforcement Official in Florida Terminated After Seeing Whistleblower Status

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According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, Patricia Carpenter—the former deputy chief of staff for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)—was terminated after she sought formal whistleblower protection in relation to an alleged  conflict with the Governor’s office. In this article, you will find a more detailed overview of the case and the legal issues that are implicated.

The Allegations: Employee Terminated After Seeking Whistleblower Status 

As reported by Tampa Bay Times, Patricia Carpenter alleges that she was dismissed from her position shortly after  filing a whistleblower complaint and alleging retaliation by aides of Florida Governor Ron Desantis. Notably, Ms. Carperner was supporting the retaliation claim of another state employee, an attorney named Janine Robinson.

The Counter: State Alleges Employee Contributed to Hostile Work Environment 

Despite Ms. Carpenter’s claims, an FDLE spokesperson denied them and stated her whistleblower claim did not meet state criteria—citing her termination reasons as insubordination and mismanagement of state funds. Indeed, the employer argues that she was terminated from her position at the FDLE, at least in part, because she created a hostile work environment.

 An Overview of Whistleblower Protections for Public Employees in Florida 

State law encourages public employees to make proactive disclosures regarding unlawful or otherwise inappropriate conduct by state agencies. In Florida, public employees enjoy specific protections under whistleblower laws. These regulations are designed to safeguard individuals who expose misconduct, corruption, or other illegal activities within public organizations. Here are some key things to know about the whistleblower rights of public workers in Florida:

  1. The Definition of a Whistleblower: In Florida, a whistleblower is any public employee who discloses information on their own initiative about potential wrongdoing. The wrongdoing could be a violation of state or federal law, gross mismanagement, a substantial waste of public funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.
  2. The Scope of Protection: The Florida Whistleblower’s Act provides extensive protection to public employees from retaliatory actions by their employers, including protection against dismissal, demotion, suspension, harassment, or other adverse employment action.
  3. The Required Reporting Procedures: Public employees must follow specific procedures to report suspected violations. This typically involves reporting the issue to an appropriate authority or supervisor within the organization. Employees may also report to external bodies like state or federal law enforcement agencies or regulatory bodies.
  4. The Remedies: A public employee in Florida who faces unlawful retaliation for whistleblowing has a right to take action. A number of remedies may be available under the law, including reinstatement, back pay, restoration of lost benefits, and compensation for any other damages incurred. An attorney can help you fight for justice.

 Get Help From a Florida Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyer Today 

Are you an employee engaged in whistleblower activity? You may have important legal rights under Florida law, federal law, or both. If you face any form of adverse action from an employer as a consequence of whistleblower activity, consult with a Florida employment lawyer right away.

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