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Do you face termination because you became a whistleblower?

Perhaps you witnessed an illegal practice performed by a co-worker. You go to your supervisor, who does not believe your story. Her attitude towards you changes, and she begins to cut back on your responsibilities.

Now you are afraid she is going to find a reason to terminate you. What should you do?

Mitigating the threat

Your coworker may have seniority and a good record on his side, which could be why your supervisor is dismissing your story. On the other hand, she may know more than she is letting on. She may benefit in some way from the illegal practice and is protecting the person you suspect of misdeeds, hence your concern in thinking she wants to fire you.

The JP Morgan Chase example

In 2014, Alayne Fleischmann, an attorney at JP Morgan Chase, saw repeated instances of securities fraud. She provided evidence to the authorities and parted ways with the investment banking firm. She was a successful whistleblower. JP Morgan Chase settled quietly with Ms. Fleischmann and paid $9 billion to the U.S. Government in one of the most significant cases of white-collar crime in the nation’s history.

The Florida statute

There are many examples of employers taking retaliatory measures against whistleblowers in the form of harassment, verbal threats, demotion or termination. However, there are both federal and state laws designed to protect those who report fraudulent practices within a company or organization. Florida affords protection to whistleblowers through its General Labor Regulations. Statute 448.102, Prohibitions, states that “an employer may not take any retaliatory personnel action” against an employee who discloses to a government agency any activity, practice or policy that violates the law.

Next steps

Putting an end to fraudulent activities sometimes takes the help of a witness who decides to come forward with information. By doing so, the whistleblower takes chances. In your case, your job may be at risk. Your supervisor may try to stifle your right to speak out in the workplace, but you have the right to explore your legal options.

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