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Florida Fourth DCA denies certiorari petition of plaintiff whistleblower seeking temporary employment reinstatement under Florida Whistle-blower’s Act.

On May 1, 2019, in Hatfield v. North Broward Hospital District, No. 4D18-3483, the Florida Fourth DCA denied the petition of a plaintiff for certiorari review of a trial court order denying her motion for temporary reinstatement under the Florida Whistle-blower’s Act.  The plaintiff, who had worked as an executive secretary for the defendant hospital district, was fired after she cooperated with the State Attorney’s Office in an investigation of Sunshine Law violations by the defendant. She then filed a complaint under the Florida Whistle-blower’s Act and moved for temporary reinstatement pursuant to section 112.3187(9)(f).  The trial court concluded that the plaintiff had not provided sufficient proof that the information she disclosed to the government qualified her for whistleblower status.  The plaintiff argued in her certiorari petition that that because she is prevented by section 905.27, Florida Statutes, from disclosing her grand jury testimony in the state investigation, she does not have to reveal the nature of the information disclosed pursuant to section 112.3187(5) for whistleblower protection.  However, the Fourth DCA  concluded that Section 112.3187 does not include an exception for grand jury proceedings, and the grand jury statute, section 905.27, cannot be used to create an exception that is contrary to the plain language in the whistleblower statute.