Blowing the whistle on illegal or unsavory business practices at a person's place of work is a risky endeavor. An individual might lose his or her job and face other serious forms of retaliation that can make it difficult to maintain meaningful employment in the future. However, whistleblowing in Wisconsin is not all downsides with no benefits. Not only does the False Claims Act give whistleblowers a small portion of any fines leveraged against companies, but victims of retaliation can also take legal action.
Health care whistleblowers must walk a fine line in determining which materials can be taken from an employer as evidence of False Claim Act qui tam claims. Guest authors Stacy Gerber Ward and Nola Hitchcock Cross of the State Bar of Wisconsin Health Law Section discuss guidelines governing the relationship between a health care provider and employees who are potential whistleblowers.
Wisconsin employees who risk their employment, reputation and financial security to raise the alarm on wrongful or discriminatory business practices do so for one reason -- it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, doing the right thing does not pay the bills, and many whistleblowers seek compensation for their injustices. But payouts for successful securities fraud whistleblowing from one entity could soon be much less than in the past.
Whistleblowers play a critical role in the safety and well-being of countless people's lives in Wisconsin. Without these brave men and women, corporate misdoings would continue, putting the financial and safety well-being of residents in jeopardy. Unfortunately, many workers who engaged in whistleblowing also face unfair and illegal retaliation as a result of their actions.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is in the news often lately, with several incidents reported in the entertainment industry as well as various levels of government. In addition, the educational sector is not immune to allegations of sexual abuse. A situation involving whistleblowing after reporting alleged sexual harassment at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville should soon be resolved.
The recent #MeToo movement has brought many stories of sexual harassment in the workplace to light. Women in Wisconsin and all across the country have shared their experiences of sexual misconduct throughout all industries. However, statistics show that women are not the only victims of this type of workplace discrimination. In fact, men have been victims as well.
In Wisconsin and across the United States, whistleblower laws exist to protect employees from retaliation for speaking up when they witness inappropriate or illegal activities in the workplace. Whistleblower is a term that is often used to describe a person who reports such activity in the workplace. Recently, a lawsuit was filed by a former aide to Senator Tony Mendoza after she was allegedly fired in retaliation for whistleblowing about his misconduct.
Employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the country have the protection to report a company's wrongdoings without the fear of losing their jobs. This so-called whistleblowing is protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act that was passed in 1989. A company in another state was required to pay a former employee for lost future earnings as well as an amount for the mental anguish he suffered when he was terminated from his job.
Employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere around the country are often asked to evaluate various work processes and procedures as part of their jobs. Their reports may include findings of inefficiencies and result in recommendations for improvements to the systems involved. However, an employee in another state claims he experienced discrimination after he identified a massive amount of waste in an IT system. He has filed a whistleblowing complaint, stating that his career has been threatened after he raised the issue of waste in the company.
Most employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere around the nation go to their jobs every day, expecting safe and ethical working environments. If they were to discover practices that violate that safety or ethics, they should be able to report the violations without fear of retaliation from their employers. Whistleblowing laws have been established to protect workers from such retaliation. A lawmaker has recently introduced legislation that would increase protection for whistleblowers in another state.