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August 2016 Archives

Wisconsin gets a “C” for family leave protections

As readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog know, the Family and Medical Leave Act protects eligible workers in a wide variety of situations requiring time away from the workplace. Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave to care for a child or spouse, deal with their own health problem or care for a newborn baby, among other conditions.

Study: Stopping workplace discrimination spurs innovation

Apple CEO Tim Cook once told the U.S. Congress that adoption of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was not only the right thing to do, but it would also foster and spur the creativity that drives his business. ENDA would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Problems piled on problems

The fight to stop wrongdoing in the workplace is ongoing. In far too many cases, sex discrimination takes place, in which one gender is preferred by an employer or manager over the other. In still other cases, an employer will retaliate against a worker courageous enough to step forward and point out problems.

Amtrak off-track on disability discrimination

Its formal name is the National Passenger Railroad Corporation. But it is better known to the public as Amtrak. The national rail system has the Hiawatha line running from Milwaukee to Chicago at least a dozen times a day, its website says.The site makes no mention of a recent settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit, however. According to the agreement, Amtrak is to pay $112,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to a man it once offered a job. 

Wisconsin court bolsters arbitration agreements

The imposition of arbitration on the process of resolving employment claims continues. The most recent example comes from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, which issued a decision making it easier for employers to mandate arbitration for worker claims that employment law has been violated.

Blowing the whistle on a railroad

Back before modern communications systems made conversations between operators of one train and operators of another as simple as picking up a phone, signals were sent back and forth with blasts on the trains' whistles. Variations in whistle patterns meant different things to nearby railroad workers, drivers of motor vehicles and engineers on other trains.

Appeals court: Civil Rights Act doesn't apply to sexual orientation discrimination

In the midst of a tumultuous presidential campaign, some legitimate news gets left behind by national media and Milwaukee outlets. One such instance of (mostly) ignored news can be found in a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago. The court held that Title VII anti-discrimination protections do not include discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation. The court said precedent required its ruling. 

Whistleblowers need to legally protect themselves

To some, the term whistleblower brings up negative connotations. If you were to compare whistleblowers to a "rat" in a mafia movie, that would be a false equivalency. Whistleblowers provide a crucial service in the world of business and employment, ensuring that companies and even individual employees don't misappropriate their power or positions for illegal or nefarious means.

Things to know about long-term disability insurance

No one really wants to look into the future and see an onset of differences that can make life difficult. But the reality is many of us will one day have to deal with long-term disability. One quarter of all 20-year-olds today will become disabled before they retire, the Social Security Administration says.In a recent article, Time magazine urges consumers to be aware of the odds of disabilty, but not to be frightened by statistics into overpaying for long-term disability insurance.

Whistleblower lawsuit reinstated

It's only about 171 miles in a straight line from Milwaukee to Lansing, Michigan. Of course, there's a fairly substantial body of water (and a bit of land) in between the two cities. Regardless of how you get there, Lansing is the capital of Michigan. As such, it's ground zero for the affair between two Michigan legislators and their botched cover-up that garnered national attention last year. A pair of aides to former representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser recently had their whistleblower lawsuits reinstated by a federal judge, according to media reports. 

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