Former Fort Lauderdale Auditor Files Retaliation Complaint Under Florida Whistleblower’s Act
According to a report from WPLG Local 10 News, a former auditor for the City of Fort Lauderdale has filed a whistleblower retaliation complaint against the municipality. In the lawsuit, John Herbst alleges that his rights were violated under Florida Whistleblower’s Act. In this article, our Florida whistleblower attorneys discuss the allegations raised by the former Fort Lauderdale city auditor and explain the key things public employees should understand about the Florida Whistleblower’s Act.
Allegations: Improper Dismissal in Retaliation for Whistleblowing Activity
The plaintiff in this case is John Herbst. Mr. Herbst spent many years serving as the city auditor for Fort Lauderdale. In early February of 2022, Mr, Herbst was suddenly terminated from his position without warning. He has now filed a formal complaint with the Fort Lauderdale city manager alleging that he was fired in retaliation for protected whistleblowing activity under the Florida Whistleblower’s Act.
According to the complaint, Mr. Herbst states that he disclosed concerns directly to the Fort Lauderdale City Manager in December of 2021. The issue in question was whether the police chief for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department was improperly working a second job while also on-the-clock for the city.
More specifically, Mr. Herbst states that he raised his concerns that the top police officer in Fort Lauderdale was actively refereeing an NCAA basketball game while he was also supposed to be working—and was being paid—by Fort Lauderdale. In the whistleblower lawsuit, Mr. Herbst contends that he was fired because he raised the complaint about the misuse of public funds.
Public Employees are Protected By the Florida Whistleblower’s Act
Government program fraud remains a serious area of concern in Florida and throughout the United States. There are federal and state laws in place—including the False Claims Act and Florida False Claims Act—to help ensure that public dollars are spent properly. There are also laws in place that protect public employees who disclose possible misconduct. All government workers should be able to confidently report suspicions of fraud, waste, or abuse without worrying about retaliation.
The Florida Whistleblower’s Act is an important law for public employees. Under the statute, a state or municipal employee in Florida may not be fired, discharged, or otherwise subject to adverse action simply because they disclosed suspected misconduct related to the misuse of public funds. If you or your loved one is a public worker in Florida and you believe that there was a violation of the Florida Whistleblower’s Act, a whistleblower protection lawyer can help.
Get Help From Our South Florida Whistleblower Protection Lawyers Today
At Guttman, Freidin & Celler, we are relentless, aggressive advocates for the rights of our clients. With extensive experience navigating complex whistleblower laws, including the Florida Whistleblower’s Act, our attorneys are ready to protect you. Give us a call today or contact us online to set up a no cost, no obligation consultation. From our office in Miami, we provide whistleblower representation in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and beyond.