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Labor law enforcers charged with violating labor laws

If you have about 10 hours of free time and a tankful of gas, you could drive west of Milwaukee on a tour of the upper Midwest. You would get to see much of central Wisconsin and southern Minnesota before arriving in South Dakota. The Mount Rushmore State is the site of an interesting employment law dispute between a former employee and the state department that enforces employment law in South Dakota.

The former veterans' representative for the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation says his supervisor faked his resignation to force him out after he asked for sick leave. The former employee is a disabled combat veteran who charges the state agency with violating the labor laws it is supposed to uphold.

The former veterans’ representative worked in the Sioux Falls office for two years. In late April of 2015, he went to his supervisor to ask to use two hours of paid sick leave to get physical therapy for his back. He told the supervisor at the time that, depending on how the physical therapy session went, he might need up to 10 additional sessions.

According to his lawsuit, the former employee had enough sick leave to cover those potentially needed sessions.

Later that same day, the supervisor told him that the man could not take sick leave and would instead need to take unpaid time under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The supervisor insisted that the man’s condition was serious and warranted unpaid leave. The man disputed that and said the issue was not a serious medical problem requiring FMLA leave.

A few days later, the man asked for an ergonomic assessment of his work space, hoping that might ease the discomfort in his back. About an hour later, he was summoned by his supervisor who again insisted that unpaid FMLA leave was called for. When the former employee resisted, a department supervisor at the meeting announced that he “accepted” the man’s resignation, though no resignation had been offered.

Some observers might be surprised that even people who are charged with enforcing employment law can sometimes ignore those very same laws and regulations.

You can fight back against violations of your rights with the help of an experienced Milwaukee employment law attorney. Contact Alan C. Olson & Associates, s.c. for more information.

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