Florida generally has an “at-will” employment policy, meaning that employees can be fired at any time for any reason that doesn’t violate a statutory or constitutional protection. For whistleblowers, that statutory protection comes from the Florida Whistleblower’s Act, which protects public employees, or the Florida Private Sector Whistleblower Act (“FPWBA”) protects whistleblowers who are not employed by a state, local or federal government agency. i
At first glance, the Florida Private Sector Whistleblower Act is similar to other anti-retaliation statutes. prohibiting retaliatory actions against an employee where the employee has:
Disclosed, or threatened to disclose, to any appropriate governmental agency … an activity, policy, or practice of the employer that is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation;
Provided information to, or testified before, any appropriate governmental agency, person or entity conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into an alleged violation of a law, rule, or regulation by the employer; or
objected to, or refused to participate in, any activity, policy, or practice of the employer which is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation,” Stat. Ann. § 448. 102(3).
The definition of retaliatory action is broad, reaching the types of adverse consequences that whistleblowers frequently face:
“discharge, suspension, or demotion … or any other adverse employment action taken by an employer against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 448. 101.