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Florida Data Scientist Rebekah Jones Granted Whistleblower Status

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A previous Florida Office of Health and fitness staff has acquired whistleblower standing a yr right after being fired for regularly violating the agency’s plan about speaking with the media.

The worker, Rebekah Jones, experienced raised questions about Florida’s COVID-19 details immediately after being ousted as the data’s curator. Condition officials claimed she was fired for insubordination right after becoming reprimanded numerous occasions, according to state records.

The Miami Herald reported that the Business of the Inspector Common advised her attorneys on Friday that “the information disclosed does meet the standards for whistleblower standing as described by … Florida statutes.”

Jones, who assisted establish the state’s online presentation of its COVID-19 knowledge, gained nationwide consideration a 12 months ago when she sowed question about the information getting claimed by the state when Florida was an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. She prompt that Well being Office administrators wanted her to manipulate information to paint a rosier image and that she pushed back.

Florida’s COVID-19 Info and Surveillance Dashboard is seen on a computer system display. Rebekah Jones, the girl who designed and ran Florida’s on the net coronavirus information web page, was removed from her career in early 2020. 

A letter from Inspector Typical Michael J. Bennett, the Herald claimed, mentioned Jones’ criticism demonstrates “reasonable induce to suspect that an personnel or agent of an company or independent contractor has violated any federal, state or regional regulation, rule or regulation.”

Less than the state’s whistleblower policies, Jones could be reinstated or be suitable for payment if an investigation finds her firing was in retaliation for the problems she elevated.

Jones informed the Herald that although not “vindication,” she referred to as the inspector’s ruling “a start” and “a massive force forward.”

Spokespeople for the governor’s business and the Department of Well being downplayed the significance of the ruling.

“Whistleblower standing doesn’t substantiate any statements. It basically provides confidentiality, and indicates an individual produced a grievance,” the governor’s spokesperson, Taryn Fenske, instructed the Herald.

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