Former Florida COVID-19 Dashboard Scientist, Rebekah Jones,
Files Whistleblower Complaint
July 16, 2020
For Immediate Release
Tallahassee – Rebekah Jones, the scientist previously employed with the Florida Department of Health (“DOH”) who oversaw the state’s highly-praised COVID-19 dashboard, filed a formal Whistleblower Charge of Discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations today. The document details Jones’ opposition to her supervisors’ requests to falsify data on a public website, which represents an immediate injury to the public health, safety, and welfare, including the possibility of death to members of the public, in violation of Florida law. The charge alleges that the DOH retaliated against Jones by terminating her employment in May 2020, immediately after she sought assistance from her supervisor with filing a whistleblower complaint relating to the misconduct.
“We believe that the DOH retaliated against our client because she wanted to tell the public the truth about COVID-19,” said Lawrence G. Walters, Esq., of Walters Law Group, who along with Rick Johnson, Esq., and Lisa Lambert, Esq., represent Jones. “She was fired for exercising her First Amendment rights and refusing to publish misleading health data,” he added.
“These efforts to falsify the numbers are a pattern and practice in Florida government that goes on to this day,” said Rick Johnson. “Ron DeSantis has routinely given false numbers to the press. His underlings at DOH follow his example and his direction,” he added.
Section 112.3187 of the Florida Statutes prohibits the state from retaliating against an employee for reporting violations of the law that create a public danger. A separate statute, § 839.13, Florida Statutes, prohibits any public employee from altering or falsifying any official record. The remedies provided by Florida’s Whistleblower Act include reinstatement, compensation for lost wages, benefits, and other compensation for injury caused by the retaliation, along with attorneys’ fees and costs.
Further inquiries should be directed to:
Lawrence G. Walters, Esq., [email protected] – (407) 975-9150
Rick Johnson, Esq., [email protected] – (850) 425-1997