Nov. 18, 2013 — Two Fulton County whistleblowers may proceed with legal claims that they lost their jobs in retaliation for reporting misuse of taxpayers’ funds, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled today. The decision strengthens the state’s whistleblower law by holding that the law protects all public employees, not just those who work in state-funded programs, and dismissing Fulton County’s defense of sovereign immunity.
Two Fulton County employees who lost their jobs are not whistleblowers, attorneys for the county say, but even if they were, they can’t sue the county. The workers say they were caught up in a backlash against a politically sensitive probe of the misuse of county funds. Now the county contends it is immune from claims under Georgia’s whistleblower law — an argument that could undermine such suits across the state.
Fulton County police on Thursday arrested a central figure in an alleged theft of taxpayers’ funds and an alleged cover-up by county commissioners. Nicola Hosier, formerly a financial systems supervisor in Fulton County’s human services agency, faces 15 counts of forgery and credit card theft. Republicans, meanwhile, questioned the timing of the arrest — which came two days after the general election.