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Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

The sound of justice: A whistleblower lawsuit

Millions of Americans depend on Medicaid for health coverage. Benefits help eligible low-income adults, children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with disabilities. Unfortunately, the joint federal and state program is often targeted by unscrupulous operators eager for a slice of Medicaid's more than $300 billion budget.

We read recently about a Texas health care system and hospital owner that has agreed to pay $12.2 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the company made illegal payments to county governments over an eight-year period. Christus Health was accused in the lawsuit of violating "the False Claims Act by making illegal donations to county governments, which were used to fund the state share of Medicaid payments to the hospital," the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Fired worker takes on global behemoth and wins

Every day of the year, the United Parcel Service flies and drives packages of all sizes in and out of Milwaukee. The company's bustling brown trucks have long been familiar sights on city streets all over the nation.

The world's largest package delivery company is being forced to make changes to its worker leave policy by a single former employee, however. UPS recently settled for $2 million a disability discrimination lawsuit that originated with her. 

Can obesity be considered a disability under the ADA?

In popular culture, obesity is often portrayed as a failure of will power. The stereotype is that an obese person is simply someone not strong enough to deny themselves sweets, butter, dairy products and other high-calorie foods.

The reality is much different, say doctors and courts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit says that obesity is a physical impairment resulting from a person's metabolism and neurological systems. That court and others have ruled that obesity can indeed be considered a disability under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (which defines "disability" just as the Americans with Disabilities Act defines it).

Alan C. Olson named to 2018 The Best Lawyers in America list

Attorney Alan Olson has been recognized by his peers to be featured in the 2018 version of the prestigious The Best Lawyers in America list for his exemplary Employment Litigation practice. Designation in the Best Lawyers in America distinguishes Olson among the top five percent of private practitioners nationwide. Inclusion in the list is based on a "rigorous peer-review survey comprising more than 7.4 million confidential evaluations by top attorneys", according to Best Lawyers.

Laser eye surgery company settles whistleblower lawsuit

Dog and pony shows are not the only corporate form of seeking new business. Corporate events may go beyond generic glad-handing to attract new business. A former executive of an international medical device and medical service organization brought forward evidence that the eye care company was offering doctors lavish vacations to entice them to direct traffic to the business, according to The National Law Review.

Kickbacks Involved In The Evidence

An argument for more doctors with disabilities

Milwaukee public broadcasting station WUWM recently aired what it calls "The Case For More Doctors With Disabilities."

As our readers know, many people who suffer disability through injury or illness can find that they face discrimination in the workplace from employers, supervisors, managers or co-workers. 

Looking at FMLA rights through an employer's eyes

Everyone who works for a living in Milwaukee understands that employees and employers are going to have diverging points of view on a number of topics. Company owners and workers often have different ideas of what's appropriate in matters such as pay, vacation time, workplace attire and more.

It can be helpful for the two sides to occasionally look at life from the other's point of view. Let's give that a try with a quick examination of an article from Benefitspro.com (a publication devoted to employee benefits managers) about Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits.

Lesson learned: teacher prevails in racial discrimination lawsuit

It is about a three-hour, 200-mile drive from the southwestern corner of Wisconsin to the northeastern corner of Missouri. Our states aren't separated by great geographic or philosophical distances. Their state's Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability or age. Wisconsin's Fair Employment Law is similar, though a bit broader.

It's worth noting the similarities in the aftermath of a Missouri jury's recent verdict in a race discrimination lawsuit. The jury ordered that the plaintiff receive $100,000 more in punitive damages than her attorneys had requested. The former teacher is to receive $4.35 million after being fired because she is white.

Celebration muted on anniversary of federal age discrimination protection

When married couples reach their 50th anniversary, family and friends gather in celebration of the golden event. Few people are organizing parties to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passing of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, however.

Recognition of the landmark 1967 legislation might be muted because employees today can still face age discrimination in the workforce, an employment law attorney wrote recently in a newspaper column.

Whistleblower's reward for stopping fraud: $2.9 million

When he filed his whistleblower lawsuit, Vladimir Trakhter was not a high-powered executive privy to inside information about former employer Olympia Therapy Inc. He was a physical therapist assistant at the Ohio health care company back in 2008 when he began noticing disturbing behavior: the company was submitting claims to Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that patients did not need.

Worse, he saw that some patients sustained injuries when they were forced to do therapies that their bodies could not tolerate. Because Trakhter filed a whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act, the scheme by Olympia executives has been stopped. The company recently agreed to a settlement for $19.5 million; a deal that includes payment to Trakhter for $2.9 million.

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