WHISTLE BLOWER CLAIMS
Mark J. Berkowitz
Whistle Blower Claims Attorney
Mark J. Berkowitz
Whistleblowers play a vital role in ensuring workplace fairness and bringing to light many different forms of employer misconduct. It is not uncommon to see cases in which insider employees are the only people who have the knowledge necessary to understand legal violations by an employer.
Unfortunately, in some cases, whistleblowers are retaliated against for stopping fraud or for protecting their own legal rights. If your company has taken negative employment action against you because you engaged in protected whistleblower activity, you need to seek professional legal representation immediately.
Mark J. Berkowitz is an experienced Fort Lauderdale whistleblower claims attorney. If you blew the whistle and you are now facing any form of retaliation — demotion, suspension, loss of benefits, reduced pay, loss of responsibilities, harassment, termination, etc — we can help. Our law firm is committed to fighting for the legal rights and financial interests of whistleblowers in South Florida. We will conduct a comprehensive, fully private review and investigation of your particular situation in order to help you find the very best legal solution.
Understanding Whistleblower Claims in Florida
You Must Have Engaged in Protected Activities
In order to be eligible to bring a whistleblower claim, you must have engaged in a ‘protected activity’. Protected activities come in many different forms. As a general rule, these activities (also known as whistleblower activities) fit in one of three different categories:
- An employee reported workplace harassment or discrimination;
- An employee cooperated with a Florida regulators/law enforcement or federal regulators/law enforcement; or
- An employee refused to engage in illegal conduct.
Whistleblowers are Held to the Reasonable Belief Standard
Under most whistleblower statutes, employees do not have to be ‘right’ about their disclosure to obtain legal protections. Instead, employees must have a reasonable belief that there was a violation. For example, if you reported that your employer was overbilling the federal government under the False Claims Act, and you had a reasonable belief that a violation existed, you are protected. The end result of the case is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if the government decides not to pursue the case or if they cleared your employer in the investigation.
You May Not Be Subject to Negative Employment Action
Employers are prohibited from taking any type of adverse employment action against a worker on the grounds that they engaged in protected whistleblower activities. Negative employment actions come in many different forms. Some of the most notable examples include:
- Denying a promotion;
- Cutting off job duties;
- Reduced pay;
- Reduced bonus payments;
- Relocating the worker; and
To prevail in a whistleblower claim, you must be able to connect adverse employment activity to your protected disclosures.
There are Remedies Available to Whistleblowers
The remedies available in a Florida whistleblower case will always depend on the specific circumstances of the case. With some claims, such as a qui tam action, the whistleblower may actually be entitled to receive financial compensation from the government for exposing the fraud or misconduct. In other cases, remedies are available to account for the worker’s damages. This could include:
- Back pay;
- Recovery for incidental economic damages;
- Payment for emotional distress;
- Reinstatement; and
- Other equitable relief as appropriate, potentially including the removal or rescission of poor performance appraisals.