Wisconsin residents might be interested to learn about a settlement that was reached in a false country of origin lawsuit involving medical device manufacturer Smith & Nephew. On Sept. 3, the London-based company agreed to settle a lawsuit with the U.S. government by paying $11.3 million in damages. In 2008, the company was accused of selling Malaysian-made orthopedic devices to the Department of Veterans Affairs and falsely claiming they were made in the United States.
Wisconsin employees may want to know more about an Aug. 29 announcement by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has made its first whistle-blower award to an employee involved in audit and compliance activities. The award, which was reported to be in excess of $300,000, was for information the employee provided to the SEC on wrongdoings at the employee's company. According to the announcement, the employee provided the information to the SEC after the company failed to act on the employee's discoveries.
A former assistant controller of a subsidiary of an aircraft company has filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee against her employer after she was terminated. According to the former employee, she was fired as a result of her whistleblower action. According to the woman, her former employer inflated the price for parts sold to the United States government as part of a federal contract.
Some investors in Wisconsin might not know that a man who used to be a manager for Moody's Investors Service filed a qui tam complaint against the company after he was fired for blowing the whistle on its practices. The filing was submitted and sealed on Feb. 24, 2012, but after the U.S. government decided not to intervene, the complaint was unsealed on May 30.
Health care employees in Wisconsin may benefit from learning more about the protections for whistle-blowers provided by the state. The protections are guaranteed under the Health Care Worker Protection statute that was introduced in 1999. People who report standard of care violations in good faith are indemnified against retaliation from their employer. Concerns regarding hospital errors and nursing home complaints have been on the rise, as the frequency of each has increased over the past few decades.
Wisconsin employees who have made certain reports about an employer's activities may be protected by state and federal law. The types of protection that are available are based on the type of claim that was made, the employer's identification, state law and case law. Additionally, contract or tort causes of action may be available for an employee who was retaliated against.
Wisconsin veterans might have heard that records regarding deceased veterans have been changed or physically altered before and after the media revealed the Veterans Affairs scandal. Numerous whistleblowers have alleged serious allegations against the VA, including assertions that it attempted to cover up the number of people who have died while waiting for care.
The United States Supreme Court unanimously decided to overturn part of a lower court's ruling rejecting the claim of a former community college official who attributed his firing to retaliation for his testimony against a state representative. The ruling could inform the handling of many future whistleblowing cases in Wisconsin and nationwide.
Wisconsin veterans may be concerned about multiple whistleblowers who have alleged that they faced retaliation after coming forward with stories of patient abuse and mismanagement at several VA facilities. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has received 37 complaints from VA employees. The OSC - the agency investigating the claims involving VA facilities in 19 states - says that there appears to be a culture that punishes whistleblowers. Since May 15, the website VAOversight.org has received around 640 submissions, around 20 percent of which were filed by former and current VA employees.
In a scandal that affects facilities in Wisconsin and across the nation, the Office of Special Counsel is looking into 37 claims of retaliation against those who reported problems at the Veterans Affairs Department. The alleged whistleblower incidents have occurred at VA facilities across 19 states. Employees claim they have suffered retaliation after reporting incidents that include poor handling of money, not following scheduling procedures and the inappropriate restraint of patients.