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Milwaukee Wisconsin Legal Blog

Are there any protections for whistleblowing?

Those who take a stand by reporting their employer's legal violations are putting a lot on the line. Although it is not legal to do so, many employers retaliate against whistleblowers, even going so far as to fire them. For those who have been wrongly fired for whistleblowing, consider the following.

Depending on a person's position -- public or private -- and the industry involved, different federal or Wisconsin state laws might apply. For example, when workers blow the whistle on their employers for violating certain environmental laws, they are protected under a variety different acts and regulations. These include the Pollution Prevention Act, Clean Air Act, Toxic Substance Control Act and more.

Chemistry professor files workplace discrimination suit

Although most people pursue careers in science and higher education because of a deep passion for the subject rather than the potential earnings, income still matters. Unfortunately, when it comes to careers in academia and the sciences, some Wisconsin women may still be missing out when it comes to earnings. An out-of-state university recently came under fire in a workplace discrimination lawsuit that accused the institution of engaging in allegedly discriminatory compensation practices.

The female assistant professor of biochemistry and chemistry was hired by the University of Arizona back in 2002, but says that she and other female employees have not been given a raise since 2011. This is in contrast to their male peers, who received pay raises during the years that theirs stagnated. The professor pursuing the lawsuit also claims that she was recommended for a promotion to become a full professor, but that she was passed over in favor of a male candidate.

Do you have knowledge of health care provider fraud?

Perhaps you are a new employee working in the billing department of a busy medical office. You are beginning to note some discrepancies between the services provided and the services billed. Are these simple errors, or are employees defrauding the government?

Recovering billions

Employment law: Google, Facebook unfriend mandatory arbitration

Employment disputes can be time-consuming and costly, something that many Wisconsin companies want to avoid. Because of this, forced arbitration has long been a part of how businesses deal with employment law issues. Now, some tech giants are leading the way in getting rid of arbitration, making it easier for employees to not only bring forth serious issues, but to also receive necessary recourse.

Google recently announced that it will no longer require mandatory arbitration for harassment claims. Not to be outdone, Facebook made the same announcement only a day later, with eBay and Airbnb following suit soon after. These moves were not necessarily made because the companies wanted to make an uninitiated show of goodwill, but likely in response to worker protests over the process. A Nov. 2018 walkout over Google's handling of sexual misconduct claims occurred only a week before the company announced the policy change.

Former sheriff's deputy settles workplace discrimination suit

Wisconsin residents should be able to go to work without worrying about on-the-job harassment. Sadly, many men and women are still subjected to unjust workplace discrimination each and every day. An out-of-state man recently settled a discrimination suit for what he described as years of racial bias at his place of work -- a sheriff's department.

The former sheriff's deputy worked at the department from 2007 to 2015, during which time he claims he was subjected to ongoing discrimination. His suit claimed that many department employees repeatedly used racial slurs and that his colleagues harassed him because of his race. Despite being qualified, he says assignments and promotions were instead given to other people at the department.

Does a poor reference show retaliation by your former boss?

You filed a religious discrimination claim against your supervisor, then you left that company and began a new job search.

Two companies seemed close to hiring you, but both opportunities fell through because of the poor reference your former supervisor provided. Is this retaliation for the claim you filed?

Riot Games named in workplace discrimination suit

Riot Games, publisher of the popular League of Legends, was recently named in a lawsuit filed by both a current and former employee. The workplace discrimination suit accuses the company of treating its male employees in a preferable manner, and comes several months after a journalistic investigation into claims of sexist behavior at the company. Wisconsin fans of the gaming company might be interested to learn more about the claims behind this suit.

In August, the website Kotaku published a piece that featured nearly 30 current and past employees. These women described the working environment at Riot Games as sexist, citing the company's hiring practices, pay and other issues. Allegedly discriminatory practices that focused on typical aggressive male personality types kept many women from even getting past the interview process. Riot Games' employees are currently 80 percent male.

Workplace discrimination is harming pregnant women

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is supposed to protect female employees in their place of work. Unfortunately, recent reports show that these protections often fall far short of where they should be. Many Wisconsin employers could not only be engaged in workplace discrimination, but it could also be putting the health of their pregnant workers at risk.

The New York Times ran a story that featured the stories of several women who had suffered from pregnancy loss because of their employers' demands. These demands included requiring these women to continue working long hours in strenuous conditions despite knowledge of their conditions. At a single out-of-state warehouse in 2014, four women suffered miscarriages because the employer refused to comply with the doctor's notes they brought in.

Workplaces can be hazardous to your mental health

Do you remember the first day of your job? You may have felt excited, nervous, fearful, happy or a mixture of emotions. After a few months, you finally settled in. Your boss praised your work and your co-workers were friendly and helpful. You enjoyed going to work.

Has your workplace changed? Maybe your company hired a new manager or your boss assigned extra job duties to your position. Perhaps a co-worker harassed you and others joined in. You may have felt stress. Eventually, you began to dread going to work. Now you want to resign. What happened?

Diffusing small business law disputes

As a small business owner in Wisconsin, protecting yourself and your business interests during litigation is important. In some instances, litigation may not even be the necessary consequence of a dispute. Whether you need to prevent impending litigation by diffusing a dispute or are currently in the throws of complicated legal actions, you need someone who is experienced in small business law on your side.

Business disputes can take many different forms. Some issues may simmer under the surface for a period of time before emerging as a serious problem, while some disputes might erupt out of seemingly nowhere. Whether you were caught off guard or suspected that something was coming, you might be dealing with any of the following issues:

  • Vendor or partner disputes
  • Breach of contract accusations
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Litigation from departing executives.
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