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Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

Flight attendant flies high in pregnancy discrimination case

No matter where you work in Milwaukee, pumping breast milk on the job can present real challenges for new moms. For people who fly for a living – airline pilots and flight attendants – the challenges of finding the time and privacy for pumping are even greater.

Last year, several cases involving alleged discrimination against pregnant and breast-feeding airline employees moved forward. One involved four female pilots who sued Frontier Airlines; and another was filed by a flight attendant working for Delta Air Lines.

Government joins whistleblower lawsuits against UnitedHealth

The ever-increasing costs of healthcare and access to needed medical treatment for people who have serious medical issues have been hot-button topics across the country for many years. The Department of Justice has joined two lawsuits that were originally filed by whistleblowers. The lawsuits say that UnitedHealth Group inflated risk scores for patients enrolled in the insurer's Medicare Advantage program. Sources say that damages in the cases could exceed $1 billion - that is taxpayer money.

The whistleblowers, and now the federal government, believe that UnitedHealth intentionally overbilled Medicare by making patients look sicker than they really were to increase company profits. In 2003, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services modified its reimbursement schedules to allow what is known as a risk adjustment factor.

 

Landmark decision extends workplace discrimination protections

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has jurisdiction over courts in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. The court recently issued a decision in a case from Indiana that holds that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The ruling has been hailed as "an emphatic declaration from a bipartisan group of judges that anti-gay workplace discrimination is clearly illegal under federal law."

Appeals Court rules against AT&T Wisconsin in disability discrimination case

The District I Appeals Court in Milwaukee has ruled that AT&T Wisconsin (also known as Wisconsin Bell) violated state law when it fired an employee with bipolar disorder.

The court said there was evidence to show that the company violated state law and discriminated against an employee with a disability.

Milestones in women's fight for equality includes FMLA

Because March is Women's History Month, it is time to remember some of the milestones in the ongoing fight for equal rights and equal pay.

A recent newspaper article recounted some of landmarks, including two pieces of legislation that we have written about a number of times here on our Milwaukee employment law blog: the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act and 1993's historic Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The laws provide critical workplace protections for women who become pregnant and for new mothers.

Understanding the differences between whistleblowing and secret news leaks

In political circles, and even in the media these days, "leaked" information and "whistleblowing" often seem to be used interchangeably to identify behaviors or conduct in a variety of circumstances. The trend recently sparked the Voice of America to delve into the similarities (if any) and differences between individuals who "leak news" and whistleblowers who come forward with information. Matthew Miller is a former director of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice.

He believes that it is important for people to understand the important distinctions between news leaks and whistleblowing. True whistleblowers are not only upstanding individuals who help to protect public safety and abusive billing practices that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Matthew Miller indicates in the VOA report that information from true whistleblowers differs substantially from leaked secret government information that can endanger innocent lives.

Disability discrimination persists in the workplace

Milwaukee PBS has been a regular part of our city's broadcast media for nearly six decades. The TV station recently aired a report on Newshour that highlighted an issue important to many of our readers: disability discrimination in the workplace.

One of the people interviewed for the program was economist Douglas Kruse. In 2006, his research team sent out 6,000 applications online for accounting jobs. The applications were divided into thirds: a third said the applicants had a spinal cord injury; another said the applicant had Asperger’s syndrome and another third did not mention a disability.

ADA compliance issues for online businesses

A world of information is online, but if the information isn't accessible to everyone, is it really useful? And are there steps that can be taken to make the information accessible to everyone?

A recent article points out that some disability advocates are pursuing litigation against online businesses accused of discriminating against people with disabilities.

What is at-will employment, and what does it mean for me?

Some people are surprised to find out that they are "at-will" employees. They may not know what the term means, but they have a feeling that the term is not beneficial to them. So: what does it mean to be an at-will employee?

First, it's important to note that many people are considered at-will employees. This isn't a special status that is reserved for a select few employees. At-will employment means that your employer can terminate the employee-employer relationship at any moment for practically any reason. They don't need to warn you, and they don't even need a particularly good reason.

Health care leads all industries for False Claims Act recoveries

While the public debate over the rising costs of health care continues to make headlines, the Justice Department believes that health care fraud is a costly problem. Fraud in the health care industry is hard to detect for the federal government without the help of employees who notice unlawful billing practices.

Whistleblowers Help Recover $2.5 Billion In Health Care Fraud Claims

Last year, the federal government recovered $2.5 billion due, in large part, to the help of health care industry whistleblowers who bring forth evidence against nursing homes, hospitals, drug companies, physicians and medical device companies and other entities that use schemes to unlawfully enhance their own bottom lines.

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