Employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who report unethical or illegal acts or unsafe workplace environments. Florida has laws in place to protect workers against retaliation. However, whistleblower claims are frequently filed by workers who exercised their rights only to find themselves without jobs.
One victim of such retaliation recently filed a lawsuit against a Midas store and one of its staff members in another state. According to court documents, a mechanic who had been an employee of the defendant for four years discussed a wage issue with the named staff member. Then, in May this year, he filed a report about workplace safety with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The complaint states that OSHA inspectors arrived to do a site inspection a week later. The plaintiff claims that his employment was terminated the very next day. The man accuses the company of retaliation after he blew the whistle on it. He requests a jury trial and seeks in excess of $50,000 in damages, along with legal fees.
Florida workers should not be expected to turn a blind eye to working environments that are unsafe or where illegal activities take place. Unfortunately, many employees fear discharge if they report the circumstances to authorities. All Florida workers have the right to discuss their employee rights with an experienced employment law attorney. A lawyer will assess the circumstances and determine whether any viable actions such as whistleblower claims exist. An attorney can suggest the most appropriate way forward and provide the necessary guidance and support.
Source: madisonrecord.com, "Car mechanic accuses Midas store of wrongful termination", June 29, 2016