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.
Reporting improper behavior in the workplace can be stressful. Although Wisconsin workers likely hope that whistleblowing will help, most understand that doing the right thing can have consequences. Retaliation and even wrongful termination are not uncommon experiences for whistleblowers, but victims have options to pursue just compensation for their damages.
Employees are expected to perform their jobs in an appropriate manner. There are often specific ways that things should be done, and employers usually insist their employees follow all established guidelines and procedures. At least this is the case in most Wisconsin workplaces. However, in some instances, the employer chooses to take shortcuts, undermining the health and safety of workers, which can lead to an employee informing the proper authorities about such questionable practices. However, although protected by law, that employee may face retaliation on the job for his or her whistleblowing.
VA patients rely on timely consultations and treatments for their injuries, many of which might be severe or stemming from their service in the armed forces. Unfortunately, VA patients in Wisconsin and elsewhere often face long wait times, and one dentist claims she knows why. Currently in an administrative position as a result of being targeted for whistleblowing, she blames much of the dental care weight times on paperwork.