Wisconsin residents who want to stop smoking often rely on nicotine gum or patches to help them cope with intense tobacco cravings. Pharmaceutical companies laud the effectiveness of these products and claim that they have helped millions to overcome nicotine addiction, but a former researcher at a leading drug maker alleges that he was fired from his six-figure job after casting doubt on the veracity of these marketing claims.
Wisconsin professionals and citizens who are considering taking whistleblower action may be interested to learn of multiple developments in 2015 that marked important milestones in how the practice is becoming more acceptable. In November 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission published a report through its Office of the Whistleblower revealing that the agency received almost 4,000 tips during the last fiscal year. This was an increase of 8 percent from the previous fiscal year.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled on a case that could affect certain allegations of whistle-blower protection laws. The case involved a state Department of Justice employee who was reportedly demoted after informing her bosses that sending bodyguards to protect the state's attorney general at the Republican National Convention in 2008 would be in violation of the law.
People in Wisconsin may want to know about a recent agreement reached by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agreement, outlined in a memorandum of understanding, defines the roles and duties of each agency in enforcing a federal safety law for air carriers.
Wisconsin residents may be pleased to hear that on Nov. 18, an air marshal who was fired after publicly disclosing Transportation Safety Administration plans to cut back on the number of air marshals on planes in 2003 was awarded nine years of back pay. In May, he had been reinstated in his position after a Supreme Court ruling found that he had not illegally provided information.
Wisconsin whistleblowers who called attention to alleged Medicare fraud may be among those in multiple states who may soon be affected by how or whether US Department of Justice prosecutors can come up with additional evidence to comply with a federal district court judge's order. The judge has stated that she may throw out the whistleblower lawsuit unless the Justice Department can come up with more than expert opinion testimony.
Although Wisconsin provides multiple ways for employees to respond if they believe that they are being discriminated against or retaliated against by their employers in connection with whistleblower activity, there is no single overarching whistleblower statute in this state to cover all circumstances. Instead, Wisconsin law with regard to whistleblower protections is more like a patchwork quilt of multiple statutes that cover specific situations, coupled with certain common-law protections as well as protections under federal law.
Bringing forth information and allegations that condemn an individual or Wisconsin-based business for committing fraud against the federal government takes a great deal of bravery. People who shed light on situations that are of public or federal concern often face backlash and retaliation. This can blemish a person’s professional as personal reputation.
Most of the time when we think of employer retaliation against employees for whistleblowing activity, we think of it in the context of an existing or past employee of the company against which he or she is making the accusation of misconduct. Less commonly thought of is a situation in which a former employee of the company against which he or she brought a whistleblower claim seeks employment at a new company that learns about the candidate's whistleblower history and declines to hire that person.
One of the biggest sources of workplace harassment is targeting of whistle-blowers for retribution, censure or retaliation by the employer. Fortunately, there are federal protections in place to protect people who report unfair or unsafe employment practices.