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Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

Appeals court reinstates FMLA interference, retaliation case

If you go to the Department of Labor’s Milwaukee office and ask, you’ll find that when an employee returns from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, “he or she must be restored to the same job or to an ‘equivalent job’.”

That provision of the law is at the center of a FMLA interference and retaliation case filed by a former employee of a furniture rental outlet.

Dermatology Services Provider Settles Whistleblower Claim For $4M

Health care fraud costs taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money.  The federal government, however, does not always detect fraudulent practices in processing Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and similar reimbursement invoices from health care providers nationwide. Many instances of fraud related to government contracts and health care programs are discovered by workers in the relevant industries. Health care workers at any level may detect irregularities in billing practices that unfairly cost taxpayers more money than the services are worth.

The Department of Justice says that a dermatology practice in the South violated the False Claims Act by overcharging Medicare and Medicaid for services provided to residents of assisted living facilities, retirement communities and similar entities. The dermatology practice allegedly abused the rules related to non-melanoma skin cancer services using superficial radiation therapy. The end-result, according to a recent lawsuit, was increased revenues to the health care providers without a medical basis. 

Special Counsel: Interior Dept. whistleblower wrongfully fired

Six years ago, a Department of the Interior employee reported to his supervisors that the federal department had violated the National Environmental Policy Act in order to make it easier for Arctic Ocean oil exploration. When Jeffrey Missal's supervisors showed little interest, he reported the infraction to the department's Inspector General.

Two years later, Missal was informed that his supervisors had launched an investigation into unspecified misconduct he had allegedly committed. On that very same day, the Alaska-based Environmental Officer was also told that the IG was investigating Missal as well.

Lawmakers across the nation accused of sexual misconduct

The problem has spread from coast to coast, across the heartland and from north to south. Sexual misconduct in the workplace is a nationwide problem that affects people of any age in any industry. Many expect that lawmakers will put new protections into place that will make it easier to report sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation, but those hopes might be misplaced.

Since last year, the Associated Press has compiled a list of 76 state lawmakers who have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. The list includes Wisconsin Rep. Josh Zepnick, who was recently accused of kissing two women against their will.

Whistleblower to receive more than $17M in overbilling claim

A hospital system on the West Coast has agreed to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit that alleged the healthcare company drove up its profits by admitting patients without medical necessity. The Department of Justice says the Prime Healthcare, some affiliated entities and the founder of the healthcare system have agreed to pay $65 million to settle the whistleblower lawsuit. A former Director of Performance Improvement at one of the hospitals in the system brought the original lawsuit on behalf of the government. She is expected to receive $17,225,000 million for bringing forth evidence and filing the initial claim.

Unnecessary admissions and upcoding underlie the claims

Milwaukee company charged with racial discrimination

Experis helps job-seekers find employment in IT, engineering, graphic design, sales, accounting and more. It also helps firms find qualified applicants for jobs in those fields. The company was recently accused in a workplace racial discrimination lawsuit of denying a promotion to an employee because he is black.

Milwaukee’s ManpowerGroup is Experis’s parent company. A former Experis recruiting manager worked in the company’s Atlanta office, receiving consistent promotions during his six-year tenure prior to a 2014 meeting with his supervisor about a managing director’s position. Although he did not receive the desired promotion, he was still with Experis a year later when another employee discovered the supervisor’s notes about the 2014 meeting.

South of Milwaukee, oil refinery faces disability discrimination suit

If you drive south of Milwaukee for about 100 miles, you’ll come to the Chicago suburb of Lemont. The city is home to a Citgo Petroleum Corporation crude oil refinery that was recently named in a disability discrimination lawsuit.

The company is accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by withdrawing a job offer after it learned that the applicant has permanent vision loss in one eye.

Federal employment law litigation: FMLA claims on the rise

A Bloomberg BNA article on lawsuits filed in federal courts reveals that in just one recent week there were 620 suits filed involving labor law, employment issues and disputes over benefits. Cases alleging workplace discrimination comprised 48 percent of the filings, while 25 percent involved wage-and-hour issues and 20 percent of the suits were about employee benefits.

Regional hospital settles False Claims Act lawsuit for $84.5M

A regional hospital system based in the upper Midwest has agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit for $84.5 million. The allegations arose before the healthcare organization was formed -- new management took over after the merger that created the new organization. However, as a successor business, the regional hospital system has agreed to make things right.

Stark Law and Anti-Kickback violations at the core of the allegations

A culture of retribution persists at the VA

Three years ago, a scandal regarding over-prescription of medications erupted at a Wisconsin VA hospital about three hours west of Milwaukee. Substandard care for veterans at the Tomah facility was only exposed when a whistleblower bravely stepped forward and pointed out wrongdoing.

Unfortunately, that kind of courage is often frowned upon at the Department of Veterans Affairs. A new report shows that after they report misconduct, whistleblowers in the federal agency are much more likely to be disciplined than other employees.

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