Like most employees in Florida and elsewhere, you believe that you are safe if the workplace and proper action will be taken if something illegal or unsafe occurs in the work environment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
While it may not be easy to speak up, employees have the right to report any violations they observe or are aware of in the workplace. Whether it concerns health and safety, finances, business dealings or criminal conduct, when an employee blows the whistle on their employer, they are afforded certain rights.
Despite having knowledge of whistleblower laws and the rights afforded employees that blow the whistle on them, some employers still take action against the employee. This is known as retaliation. A variety of state and federal laws are designed to protect whistleblowers from retaliation at work, but unfortunately these laws don’t always prevent retaliation in the workplace.
What constitutes retaliation?
Whether it is through a manager, supervisor or administrator, retaliation occurs when an adverse action is taken against an employee for engaging in a protected activity, such as reporting unsafe working conditions to the appropriate authorities. An adverse action may include firing, laying off, demotion, denying overtime or a promotion, intimidation, harassment, making threats, reassignment to a less desirable position, reducing or changing pay or hours, denying benefits and constructive discharge due to intolerable working conditions.
No matter what gave rise to the adverse actions, employees have rights when they experience retaliation after engaging in a protected activity. As such, they should understand what rights and options they have when it comes to filing a whistleblower complaint.