What should you do when your supervisor encourages you to break the law on the job? Believe it or not, that is a more common scenario than you might imagine, with scores of Florida employees suffering retaliation and other negative ramifications because they report their bosses’ illegal behavior. Experts in employee rights say that workers who report illegal behavior are protected under existing whistleblower laws, and they should never be fired for insisting that a business operate in an ethical and legal fashion.
Still, two Florida dental practice employees are now seeking compensation from their former Ocala employer, who reportedly attempted to subvert investigations by the state’s Department of Health and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. One of the workers caught the man falsifying medical records; cellphone evidence shows the man actively attempting to obstruct the government inquiry. In addition, another employee at the practice alleges that she was ordered to refuse investigators access to the practice’s medical records.
The DEA continues to investigate the man’s practice, though he reached a settlement with the state and was required to surrender operation of his practice. The investigation was sparked by allegations related to the treatment of two minor patients. News reports show that the dental practice has since changed names, although it is still operated by the man’s wife.
The two fired workers are now seeking financial compensation for retaliation, as well as at least one overtime claim. Both women are requesting $15,000 per allegation, and they are also seeking compensation for attorneys’ fees. It is not clear whether the dentist intends to settle in the case, as that man has remained tight-lipped regarding the lawsuit itself. The two fired employees should receive the money they are owed, as the dentist clearly retaliated against them for reporting his illegal actions. Victims of wrongful termination can get the money they need and deserve through the civil court system, where employers may be required to pay for violating their employees’ rights.
Source: health.wusf.usf.edu, “Whistleblowers sue dental practice” No author given, Dec. 02, 2013