Wisconsin employees may be interested in some information about a new final whistle-blower rule passed by the federal government. This final rule has been years in the making, but continues the policies in effect for a while.
Employees in Wisconsin may have heard that on March 2, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it would be issuing the first whistle-blower payout to a former company officer. The individual received a payout that ranges from $475,000 to $575,000 for becoming a whistle-blower. This particular case also involved an exception to the standard rules that define whistle-blower laws.
People in Wisconsin who are employed as commercial motor carrier workers are sometimes asked to drive trucks in violation of federal safety regulations. The carrier may ask that an employee drive beyond allowable hours or drive a truck that has problems that place both the driver and others on the road at risk.
Wisconsin readers who follow workplace issues may be interested in a recent decision regarding retaliation against a whistleblower. A U.S. Postal Service worker will receive nearly $230,000 in damages for retaliation that he suffered after advising a co-worker to report health concerns to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The worker filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA after being subjected to a hostile work environment.
Employees in Wisconsin may benefit from understanding more about the settlement reached between Southwest Airlines and a whistleblower mechanic. The employee claims he was disciplined for reporting cracks he discovered in a Boeing 737-700's fuselage, and filed a lawsuit for whistleblower protections established by the AIR-21 statute. On Jan. 8, a settlement was approved by a Department of Labor Administrative Judge who granted the summary judgment motion filed by the mechanic, and dismissed the airline's motion.
As some Wisconsin workers have found, employees who see and report unsafe conditions or activities might find that negative actions have been taken against them by an employer. If this happens, the employee may have the ability to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Wisconsin workers may be familiar with the term "whistleblower," which refers to a person who blows the whistle on an employer who is engaged in illegal activity. One type of whistleblower action that an employee may bring against an employer is a qui tam action. Qui tam actions are lawsuits alleging that the government has suffered harm at the hands of an individual or a corporation that filed false claims. The False Claims Act, a federal law, incentivizes individuals to alert the government of such illegal conduct by offering individuals a percentage of any award that results from the lawsuit being successfully prosecuted.
Wisconsin workers employed in the food industry may be interested in the protection they have under federal law if they should bring an issue of concern forward. Those who are engaged in the processing, packing, distribution or holding of food, among other activities, are protected from retaliation if they highlight a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
In the summer of 2014, United Airlines, which has flights serving several Wisconsin cities, fired 13 flight attendants for refusing to fly on a trip from San Francisco to Hong Kong. The reason for the crew's refusal to fly was an ominous message and drawings that had been scrawled into the dirt on the plane that was to make the flight.
A former Baltimore Police Department detective filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the department, the former police commissioner and his supervisor on Dec. 22 in federal court in Baltimore. The detective, who reported an assault on a drug suspect by two fellow officers to the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office in 2012, alleges that his fellow officers began a pattern of harassment, threats and retaliation against him when he agreed to testify against the two officers at their subsequent trial.