Panama City Beach Hotel Hit With Whistleblower Case
A Panama City Beach hotel marketing director says that she lost her job because she booked too many African American guests at the hotel and used the Florida Whistleblower Act on her employer. It is an accusation that her employer denies, and claims that her poor job performance is why she was let go. This case recently went before the federal court, with a partial victory for the woman who filed it.
According to Nadine Beavers, she was told by her employer that she needed to be “more selective of the type of people that she rented rooms to” and the general manager was instructed to order her to resign after she continued to book African American guests at the hotel.
Ms. Beavers refused to resign after the incident, and her pay was reduced immediately in order to induce her to quit her position. She claimed that this was a violation of the Florida Whistleblower Act, and she filed a lawsuit against the hotel. Ms. Beavers was awarded $20,000 by a Panama City Beach federal court jury recently for the violation of the Whistleblower’s Act, but the hotel escaped without having to pay punitive damages.
Florida Whistleblower Protection
Whistleblowers play a critical role in ensuring accountability in public and private entities. Because of this, it is illegal to fire or otherwise retaliate against a public or private sector employee who reports the illegal or unethical acts of an employer.
In order to protect these rights, Florida enacted the Florida Whistleblower’s Act. Workers that have been retaliated against may sue for back pay, full benefits, lost wages, and other damages against their employer under the state Whistleblower’s Act.
Florida Whistleblower’s Act
Under Title X, Chapter 112 of Florida law, the Whistleblower’s Act protects private employees from retaliation by their employers for reporting illegal acts. In order to state a claim under this act, as a private employee you must prove the following:
- That you disclosed or threatened to disclose to an agency under oath and in writing
- An activity, policy, or practice of your employer
- That was in violation of law, rule, or regulation
- That the employer retaliated against you because of the disclosure or threat to disclose, and
- You had given written notice to the employer of its activity, policy, or practice
- Thereby giving the employer reasonable opportunity to correct the activity, policy, or practice.
In addition, the general labor regulations under Title XXI, Chapter 448 of Florida law provide that an employer who has ten or more employees may not retaliate against an employee because the employee has:
- Disclosed, or threatened to disclose, to any appropriate governmental agency under oath or in writing 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.
- 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.
However, this area of the law does not apply unless the employee has, in writing, brought the violation to the attention of the employer and given the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct it.
Contact a Florida Lawyer Today
If you feel like your employer is acting in a fraudulent manner in the Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, or greater central Florida area, the experienced lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm are here to help you with your whistleblower case. Call the office or contact us today for a free and confidential review of your claims.