Archive for the ‘Sarbanes Oxley’ Category

A federal jury in Hartford, Connecticut, recently awarded $1.37 million in damages to a former Pfizer scientist who alleged that she was fired for raising safety concerns. This just shows the types of awards that are being given to employee whistleblowers who blow the whistle on violations of laws by their employer and have their job terminated in response.

Under Florida law, and in most states there exists a whistleblower law. For instance in Florida it is illegal to retaliate or terminate an employee for complaining about the employer’s violations of a law, rule, or regulation of state or Federal law. So if you complain about a violation of law, it is not only illegal for your employer to fire you, but they also can’t retaliate against you by reducing your hours, salary, working conditions, etc. For instance, my law firm has in the past represented an employee of Publix who complained about its failure to follow safety precautions in its meat department, an employee of Suntrust Mortgage who complained about illegalities in origination of mortgages, and employees of doctors offices who have submitted false medicare claims.

In addition to the whistleblower laws available under state laws, many Federal laws provide remedies to an employee for whistleblowing. For instance, if you complain to OSHA (The Occupational Health and Safety Administration) about safety issues, that statue has its own protections for whistleblowers. Also there are protections under the Federal Sarbanes Oxley statute as well as many other statutes such as major federal environmental laws (Clean Air, Toxic Substances, Clean Water, Atomic Energy, Solid Waste, Safe Drinking Water, and Superfund) each have special provisions protecting corporate whistleblowers. There are also protections under the Federal False Claims Act which relates to issues such as false or fraudulent claims being submitted to Medicare.

So the bottom line is if you think that you have blown the whistle on your employer and have been terminated or retaliated against you should speak with legal counsel about the issues.