Fired for talking about illegal employment practices?

by Jennifer
(Tallahassee, FL)

I was in Florida (at will employee). While my employer did not have to give any reason at all, the COO of the company decided to tell me I was fired because one of their customers said I was talking about an employee at a conference.

First of all, that is blatant lie. When I asked, "who would say such a thing"?, I was told that they didn't have to tell me that.

Secondly, the "employee" I supposedly was talking about happened to be an employee I had told the COO a few weeks prior that I did not appreciate being involved in their illegal acts immigration fraud. The employee they had me working with was the employee that was part of their immigration fraud.

In short, the Vice President of the Company's wife's best friend (I know, but important to note) is the immigrant. She was hired by my employer for the simple fact that she was the Vice President's wife's best friend - not for any extraordinary talent or skill set she brought to the position or company.

This immigrant was already legally in Florida on some type of work visa and my employer, at the time, was working with her to sponsor her for a HB-1 Visa. The problem began when they allowed this employee to run the entire HB-1 process from advertising the job to interviewing candidates.

I was asked to go through the "qualified" candidates by the immigrant and call them for follow up questions - while she sat in the same room with me, often times muting the phone to tell me what to ask.

So, to sum it up, after realizing that I had been used in the process where illegal activity took place (the immigrant/person seeking the HB-1 Visa is not allowed to participate in ANY of the responsibilities set forth by federal law to companies sponsoring HB-1 Visa's), I went to the COO and said, "who asked you to ask me to conduct this work and be a part of this process?" to which the COO replied "(the Vice President's name)."

I expressed my unhappiness with being placed in such a position and the next thing you know, I am fired.

Can someone please help me? Is there not anyone out there working for those of us who have morals and values and are here legally? What can be done about this? Not only do I feel this is wrongful termination, but they were breaking the law. What are my options? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Fired for talking about illegal employment practices?":

Jennifer (Tallahassee, FL):

Florida is an at-will employment state. This means an employee may be fired for just about any reason short of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status.

From the facts you present, it appears your employer may have been asking you to participate, even passively, in an illegal act. Unfortunately, the State of Florida does not have a statute addressing wrongful termination based on an employee's refusal to commit an illegal act.

To access information about Florida's laws regarding discrimination and wrongful termination, and to file a complaint with Florida Commission on Human Relations go to FCHR.STATE.FL.US

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also deals with job discrimination and wrongful termination. It is illegal to terminate employment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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