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Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

In a rough and tumble political season, it seems possible that most people - regardless of party preference - agree that Americans with disabilities "have the same rights and freedoms as any other citizen." Those are the words of President Obama in his recently issued proclamation that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The president said that too often in U.S. history, people with disabilities have wanted to work, but were not offered jobs, or they faced discrimination in the workplace. But he notes that significant progress has been made and that with ongoing effort, more employees will be accepted for who they are and that no one will be "unable to pursue their dreams because of a disability." 

Researcher: Chronic fatigue more debilitating than cancer

The Mayo Clinic says symptoms of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis include pain, extreme exhaustion that can last more than 24 hours after exercise, loss of concentration or memory, unrefreshing sleep, headaches and more. The condition is best known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

A DePaul University researcher has been studying Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or ME, for a quarter of a century and says the disabiiling condition "is more functionally debilitating than chronic congestive heart disease and cancer." 

Another study confirms discrimination against women in the workplace

Regular readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog know that women continue to face discrimination in the workplace. A new study reveals another layer of that unfair bias.

Researchers found that women who weigh even slightly more than peers are likely to be discriminated against in hiring. The study shows that those interviewed said that when qualifications are equal, they are less likely to hire a slightly overweight woman than a woman weighing less.

"No More Babies"

"No more babies." That is what the president of a company allegedly said to employees during a staff meeting. The part-owner of a plant nursery also reportedly told female employees at the meeting that the next person to get pregnant should simply stay at home and consider herself fired.

As you know, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is prohibited by the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act.

Whistleblowers fired at Wells Fargo?

Wells Fargo is one of the nation's largest banks, but it has been embroiled in scandal after revelations that employees illegally opened as many as 2 million unauthorized accounts. The latest shockwave to roil the company came when members of Congress spoke at a recent hearing about how Wells Fargo workers who reported the illegal activities were fired for blowing the whistle.

Rep. Gwen Moore of Milwaukee said a woman who worked for the bank in her district was pushed out after filing a complaint about the unethical sales activities that resulted in the unauthorized accounts.

Ruling against Wisconsin employer in disability discrimination case

If you drive north of Milwaukee along the shore of Lake Michigan for about an hour and a half, you will come to Manitowoc, a vacation spot dear to many of our city's residents. It is also home to Orion Energy Systems, a lighting and power technology company, and the focus of a recent federal court decision.

The district court ruled against Orion, which had argued that its wellness plan provisions were exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act. Orion had required an employee to submit to medical testing as part of the program; if the employee did not submit to the test, she would be made to pay the full premiums for her health insurance.

Age discrimination, FMLA violation, more alleged

As readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog know, we track a number of important issues in this space. In recent weeks, we have addressed matters such as violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), incidents of sex discrimination in the workplace, concerns about maternity leave, disability discrimination and more.

But we rarely see news articles on cases involving not only FMLA, but also possible age discrimination, bullying and harassment. We did this week, though.

News media star settles sexual harassment claims for $20 million

There is no denying that Roger Ailes understands the business of television news. The former political consultant was the founding CEO of Fox News, making it into a cable news ratings juggernaut with talk shows and news aimed at a conservative audience.

There is also no denying that the downfall of Ailes was the accusations of sexual harassment filed by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson and others. A few days ago, Carlson settled her claims against the network and Ailes for $20 million.

Terminated while on FMLA leave? Speak with an attorney

Regular readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog know that some employers continue to struggle to meet their obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The law enacted a quarter of a century ago allows workers to take job-protected leave to care for a member of their family or for their own personal health issues.

The statute states that employers are not allowed to "interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any FMLA-protected right." Yet we still see employers interfering with those rights and sometimes retaliating against workers who make use of their FMLA rights.

Insurance company MD: Accommodations are a way of life

He is associate medical director at one of the nation's largest insurance companies, but he has a perspective on disabilities and employer accommodations that might surprise a few of our readers. Dr. Michael Lacroix recently wrote an article in which he described the moaning and groaning he has heard from employers unhappy with their obligations under the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

He tries to get employers to look at their legal obligations from a different point of view. For instance, he notes that accommodations have changed over time. He uses eyeglasses as an example.

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New Berlin, WI 53151
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