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.
Employees in Wisconsin may be interested in the recent case of a former St. Louis police chemist who was awarded $175,000 on claims she was fired for being a whistleblower. After a weeklong trial in St. Louis Circuit Court, the jury concluded that the chemist was terminated for pointing out errors in the crime lab's drug testing processes.
A whistleblower lawsuit recently was filed by several people who previously worked at an exotic wildcat sanctuary. In this case in a neighboring state, the employees said they were terminated or pressured to resign after they brought word of illicit activities to the attention of the board of directors. Being disciplined by a company in Wisconsin for being a whistleblower is not lawful and is grounds for a civil claim against the employer.
Naturally, no one in Wisconsin likes to be "ratted on," but companies that engage in illegal activities can rightfully expect to be reported by a whistleblower who is willing to speak up about the wrongdoing. A recent whistleblower situation in another state revolves around a health company that allegedly was misdiagnosing patients on purpose. A former employee of the company filed a suit in this case, and the company recently agreed to settle the allegations by paying more than $2 million.
A major owner of a franchise of grill restaurants was recently sued by previous managers who claimed they were retaliated against for being whistleblowers. In this out-of-state situation, the owner of the company, known as Muscle Maker Grill, is facing a minimum of two separate whistleblower suits. It is worth noting that the law protects whistleblowers in Wisconsin, as these individuals are willing to take on the personal risk of speaking up about potentially dangerous violations at their employers' organizations.
A whistleblowing employee in another state will receive millions of dollars after her former employer was found to have retaliated against her. The situation revolves around a home health business that operates in more than 30 states in America. This type of whistleblower case may be of interest to employees in Wisconsin, as it involves alleged Medicare fraud, a problem which exists in all 50 states.
When an employer is doing illegal or dangerous activity, this can have a negative impact on customers and on society at large. This is why speaking up about the wrongdoing is so critical for an employee who discovers it, in Wisconsin or elsewhere. Unfortunately, being a whistleblower can have unintended consequences, such as getting fired by the employer. An individual who becomes a victim of employer retaliation after blowing the whistle can seek to hold the company responsible for this unjust action.