Most states, including Florida, have an “at-will” employment policy. This policy means that employers can fire their employees at any time and for any reason. But, there are some exceptions this policy. To ensure you remain compliant with federal and state employment laws, you may want to consult with an employment lawyer Daytona Beach as soon as possible.

What does the “at-will” employment policy mean for whistleblowers?

Employees in Florida are protected from unfair dismissal because of whistleblowing by two acts, which are the Florida Whistleblowers Act and the Florida Private Sector Whistleblower Act, which protect employees in public and private sectors respectively.


In Florida, a whistleblower is considered someone that “blows the whistle” on his or her employer for taking part in harmful, fraudulent, illegal, or corrupt activities in the workplace.

By law, employees are protected when they whistleblow on illegal activities by their employer. Employers are prohibited from taking retaliatory action against employees who are whistleblowers.


The Florida Private Sector Whistleblower Act, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 448.102, protects employees from retaliatory actions motivated by an employee’s decision to:

  1. Disclose or threaten to disclose an activity or policy of an employer that contravenes the law
  2. Provide information or testify to an appropriate investigation agency related to an alleged violation of the law by the employer
  3. Object to or refuse to participate in an activity requested by an employer that is against the law

Retaliatory actions are explicitly defined in the private employees’ Whistleblowers Act. Some examples of retaliatory actions include demotion, suspension, discharge, or any other adverse employment action that an employer may take against an employee.


Statute 112.3187 that is under the Florida Whistleblower Act protects employees in the public sector from retaliatory consequences from their employers. However, an employee must qualify as a whistleblower and follow the proper procedures of reporting illegal activities that the employer may be involved in.

According to the Act, a whistleblower is defined as someone who:

  • Has filed a written complaint with their supervisor(s)
  • Has declined to take part in an illegal activity
  • Was asked to take part in an inquiry, hearing, or investigation
  • Disclosed information on their own volition through a written and signed complaint
  • Filed a complaint with the Agency Inspector General, the Office of the Chief Inspector General, the Florida Commission on Human Rights, or the Whistleblower’s Hotline

One important thing that must be mentioned is that the statutes protect not only public-sector employees but also any other person that may want to disclose information about a public employer.

The information to be disclosed can either be related to gross misconduct or violation of rules or laws.


Both the public and private whistleblower protection acts prohibit employers from initiating retaliatory actions against a whistleblowing employee.

Public sector employees that suffer retaliatory consequences for whistleblowing against their employers are required to file a complaint with the appropriate authorities. The complaint must be filed within 60 days of when the alleged retaliatory action was taken.

Whistleblowers that work in the private sector are also protected. However, under Florida law, the protection only applies to employees in companies that have more than 10 employees.


Whistleblowers who have been retaliated against are entitled to compensation from their employers. If your business is accused of retaliating against a whistleblower, the court may order you to compensate the plaintiff for:

  • Damages suffered due to the retaliatory action
  • Attorney fees
  • Lost benefits or wages

The court can also order you to reinstate the whistleblower to their former position.

Whistleblower cases are often complex and, so are the statutes interpreting them. Therefore, it is advisable to hire a business lawyer to represent your company in a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit.