Articles Posted in Whistleblower Retaliation

Until recently, Ferrari dealers in South Florida and elsewhere were able to roll back the odometers of the fancy pre-owned cars they sold.

However, when the Miami Herald and other media organizations brought attention to it, the company discontinued the practice that could grossly inflate the value of used Ferraris, according to new documents filed in a Palm Beach County lawsuit.

In an internal Ferrari memo filed Feb. 8 in the lawsuit brought by a former showroom salesman-turned-whistleblower, Ferrari North America notifies dealers it will no longer provide access codes that for years allowed an app called DEIS tester to make miles driven vanish from dashboards of Spiders, Californias and 488 GTB’s.

“The odometer ‘reset to zero’ functionality is being removed,” the memo reads. It also announces the removal from its Ferrari Workshop Manuals of the paragraphs that taught techs how to roll back miles.

After spending 22 years selling Ferraris throughout South Florida, the whistleblower sued for libel Ferrari of Palm Beach and one of his clients.

The whistleblower claims he was fired after discovering odometers got rolled back and discussing it with his client, who allegedly then paid off a mechanic from the dealership to roll back his LaFerrari mileage.

The whistleblower explained in court paper the rollback — which had to be greenlit by Ferrari headquarters in Italy — instantly increased the resale value of his client’s $3 million-LaFerrari by $1 million, the lawsuit claims.

The whistleblower says he was fired by Ferrari of Palm Beach in January 2016 for “egregious violation of business ethics,” allegedly facilitating his client’s rollback.

What really happened, the whistleblower says in the suit, is that he was targeted after he loudly objected to the use of the rollback device.

The whistleblower was rehired in March 2016. Since then, however, he claims Ferrari of Palm Beach engaged in a pattern of retaliation, including his move to an office that’s harder to reach by customers.

Ferrari stands by claims they did nothing wrong or illegal.

Under state and federal law, employees who step forward to expose illegal activity on their employer’s part can recover financial damages if they find themselves being harassed, intimidated, or unlawfully terminated. Moreover, in qui tam cases, whistleblowers are eligible to receive a percentage of any money recovered by the government where their testimony and cooperation were pertinent to obtaining a conviction.

Continue reading

An Orlando employee is suing a transportation company, alleging retaliation and wrongful termination.

The woman filed a complaint Nov. 6 in Orange County Circuit Court against the company, alleging violation of the coercion statute.

According to the complaint, the woman began working for the company on Jan. 18. She says on June 25, she was grabbed on the arm by another driver from a company that contracted with the company. The suit says the other driver began scolding the woman.  

The woman says she reported the incident and opened a worker’s compensation claim. After the report, the suit says, the woman’s supervisors changed their behavior toward her, followed by a change in her schedule to a shift she was unable to work. As a result, she was forced to resign June 29 because no shifts were available.

The woman claims the company failed to protect employees from any harm during employment, failed to investigate the incident claim filed under Workers Compensation claim and forced an employee to resign without valid reason.

Continue reading

A former employee is suing a south Florida cleaning company for alleged retaliation.

The man filed a complaint on Aug. 3 in the Broward County Circuit Court, alleging that the company breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing.

According to the complaint, the man alleges that he suffered loss of employment, loss of income, worsening of his injury, humiliation and embarrassment on March 3 due to the company allegedly terminating his employment in retaliation for his claim for workers’ compensation benefits due to an injury he allegedly sustained in the scope of his employment.

The man holds the company responsible for allegedly terminating him in bad faith without reasonable grounds, and for allegedly interfering with his right to workers’ compensation benefits.

Florida retaliation laws were enacted to protect employees who take a stand in the workplace and fight for what is right. Our Florida Whistleblower & Retaliation Lawyers at Whittel & Melton represent employees who were terminated for doing the right thing. This includes employees who stand up to unlawful company conduct, file a complaint against their boss/supervisor, or testify against the company in a legal proceeding.

When an employer retaliates against an employee, Florida law provides financial relief. An employer retaliates against an employee when the employer fires, demotes, lays-off, or does anything that negatively affects the terms and conditions of the employee’s job  simply because they stood up to illegal dealings in the workplace.

Continue reading

A jury has awarded $4.5 million to a former employee who sued an Iowa hospital for age bias and retaliation.

The jury’s July 24 decision came after a 10-day trial of Grinnell Regional Medical Center and two administrators. The lawsuit states that the hospital fired the man in June 2015 from his post as lab director while in remission from breast cancer and hired a younger replacement.

It is believed that the man was targeted because he’d declined an order to retire following his initial diagnosis in November 2013.

The hospital’s attorneys deny the firing and subsequent hiring of a new director had anything to do with the man’s age or cancer diagnosis. A hospital spokeswoman says the hospital intends to appeal.

Discrimination in the workplace is not only unfair, but also illegal. There are several different federal laws that offer protection from discrimination based on disability, race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Age discrimination has its own unique set of laws called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Job applicants and employees who are over the age of 40 are usually covered by the ADEA.

Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person over 40 because of their age when it comes to:  

  • hiring
  • firing
  • promotion
  • layoff
  • compensation
  • benefits
  • job assignments
  • training

Moreover, employees who speak out against age discrimination have legal protection from retaliation.

Continue reading

A Miami-Dade County employer that sells SIM cards for cellphones is accused of terminating an employee in retaliation for his complaints about not receiving overtime pay.

The man filed a complaint on behalf of similarly situated individuals on March 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

According to the complaint, the man alleges that he began working for the company to sell SIM cards in November 2015 and was unlawfully terminated in December 2016. He holds the company responsible because they allegedly terminated his employment in retaliation to his complaints about not being paid any overtime wages. He also alleges he was not paid commissions as promised.

Employees are commonly hesitant to report unlawful conduct in the workplace, including wage and hour violations. Many fear that if they take any such action, they will be fired or suffer other consequences.

Retaliation is defined as “an adverse action taken against a covered individual because he or she engaged in a protected activity.” Employer retaliation can take many forms and can include the following:

  • Termination
  • Denied Promotion
  • Demotion
  • Reduction in compensation
  • Reduction in hours
  • Unwarranted discipline

Continue reading

A former Largo plumbing inspector is suing the city, claiming that officials violated a law meant to protect whistle-blowers by firing him in retaliation for a complaint he filed with a state agency.

According to the lawsuit, the man’s former bosses conspired to fire him in November after he accused city plans examiners of approving building plans without proper qualifications last summer in complaints to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The city manager said the 57-year-old was fired based on several instances of misconduct unrelated to the complaint. According to a disciplinary report issued in November, the man improperly completed or didn’t complete building inspections. He also allegedly joked in an email that two city employees were involved in an affair.

According to the suit, the unlicensed activity resulted in a 911 call center being inoperable for the first two weeks it was open. It also caused faulty plumbing and electrical work in several large projects, including two Walmarts, a Wawa and an apartment complex.

The man filed complaints against four separate employees, according to reports.

To review aspects of a plan such as the electrical or plumbing work, an examiner must have a license in that discipline to ensure the project meets building code. The investigation found that one employee let someone review a plumbing plan on a house in Largo without a plumbing license.

The man hopes his lawsuit prevents any similar issues with his former department.

Blowing the whistle on illegal activities in your workplace is never easy. Sometimes doing the right thing can backfire and lead to retaliation and even termination.

Continue reading

Contact Information