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Ousted coronavirus dashboard manager files whistleblower complaint

Rebekah Jones filed a formal whistleblower charge of discrimination Thursday with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Rebekah Jones is likely a name you've heard once or twice since the coronavirus pandemic began. She's a former Florida coronavirus dashboard manager who made headlines after she was fired in May.

If you ask the state, it says she was asked to resign due to insubordination, but Jones alleges she was fired after she was asked to manipulate coronavirus numbers on the Department of Health's dashboard.

Now, she's filed a formal whistleblower charge of discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations

RELATED: DeSantis: It's a 'non-issue' that woman who designed Florida's coronavirus dashboard was ousted

According to a press release, the documents filed allege the Department of Health retaliated against Jones by terminating her employment after she says she went to her supervisor for assistance on blowing the whistle on dashboard misconduct.

It also touches on her "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."

This complaint is the latest in the back-and-forth between Jones and the state.

When chatter around Jones and her removal from her role with the Department of Health began circulating, Gov. DeSantis initially said “I don’t know who she is” during a press conference.

One day later, the governor had some harsh words for Jones claiming she is not a data scientist or an epidemiologist, but rather someone with a degree in journalism, communication, and geography. He also accused Jones of putting data on the portal that the scientists did not believe, not listening to her superiors, and having criminal charges in the state.

You can listen to his full comments here:

Jones fired back sharing the following statement with 10 Investigates in June: 

“The campaign to diminish my role in making the dashboard and to defame me publicly by saying I've ever been convicted of anything anywhere, which is false, is absolutely false, or that I'm under an active investigation for anything which is also false is so that when I stepped into a legislative hearing, prepared to testify against the state and DOH about what happened, that there is a swirl of controversy around me so thick that nothing that I say is really going to be heard. I know that's why that's happening. There's no other fathomable reason why the governor of a state would lie on live TV in front of the Vice President of the United States about a person that he had never met.”

RELATED: Woman who designed Florida's coronavirus dashboard gets removed; leaders demand answers

Since her removal, Jones issued a word of warning that the state's new team would not provide the same "level of accessibility and transparency" that she claims to have made central to the process during the dashboard's earlier phase.

DeSantis has stood by the state's data reporting, calling questions part of a "conspiracy bandwagon."

As for where the state falls for transparency? It seems to fluctuate by the data sought and whose opinion you ask.

For example, the state just began releasing data showing a county-by-county breakdown of daily coronavirus-related hospitalizations. But, at the same time, many public records requests submitted by 10 Tampa Bay regarding coronavirus data have gone unanswered.

Since her removal, Jones is still paying close attention to the state's coronavirus data after creating her own dashboard with data from state websites the public has access to.

RELATED: Ousted Florida coronavirus dashboard manager makes her own dashboard

RELATED: Questions continue to swirl around the accuracy of the state’s COVID-19 dashboard

RELATED: Florida coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations, recoveries

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