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.