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Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

Stopping Wisconsin wage theft

Nearly a decade ago, a former waiter joined co-workers in a lawsuit against the owner of a restaurant where they all worked. The group of employees proved to the court that they were victims of wage theft, and had been illegally denied overtime pay and minimum wage. The good news: a federal judge ruled in favor of the two dozen workers, awarding them $1.5 million in damages. The bad news: the workers have been unable to “collect even a penny.”

Because this case was in one of the many states without a wage-lien law, the workers were essentially powerless to enforce the court’s decision. Here in Wisconsin, victims of wage theft are permitted to put a lien on the employer’s property; a powerful legal tool that provides real leverage in compelling a business to pay its workers what they are owed.

Hyatt settles disability discrimination lawsuit for $100,000

The Hyatt Corporation has nearly 800 luxury hotels in more than 50 countries. There are several here in Milwaukee, including a Hyatt hotel downtown and one at the airport.

Though the company prides itself on providing the comforts of home and much more to its customers, it was accused in a disability discrimination lawsuit of refusing to provide a chair to an employee with a chronic back ailment. Hyatt recently agreed to settle the suit with the front desk clerk for $85,000, plus six weeks of paid leave valued at $15,000.

U.S. women's soccer team aims to level the playing field

The U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) started its defense of its World Cup title with a 13-0 thrashing of Thailand that included a pair of goals by former University of Wisconsin star, Rose Lavelle. As the USWNT has piled up goals and wins on the field, all 28 team members have pursued pay equity in a gender discrimination lawsuit off the field.

The women's lawsuit points out that members of the U.S. men's team are paid much more, even though they are historically far less successful. According to the lawsuit, the women on the national team make approximately $8,200 less per game than the men on the national team.

Want to post about your disability on social media? Maybe not.

Social media platforms are great for connecting with old friends, sharing pictures and keeping up with extended family announcements. But there may be some things you do not want to share online.

When you have a disability and seek long-term coverage, your insurance company can thoroughly investigate you and your condition. This could include checking your private social media accounts for anything that runs contrary to your claim.

Long-term disability isn’t only about serious injuries, illnesses

When you think of long-term disability, your mind might immediately jump to a debilitating injury after an accident, or a serious illness such as cancer. While those are certainly potential causes of long-term disability, they’re not the only types of cases.

In fact, some claims data suggests less dramatic – though just as impactful – causes are not just common, but possibly on the rise.

Consciousness-raising firm accused of age discrimination

The firm began as WeWork nine years ago, providing shared work spaces to tech start-ups and others looking for ways to collaborate and save money on offices. After growing into other areas of business, WeWork recently changed its name to the We Company. "We are one," the company says on its website, proclaiming that its mission is to "elevate the world's consciousness."

A former vice president begs to differ. He claims in a recently filed lawsuit that the firm fired him in retaliation for complaining about age discrimination.

"Blatant" pregnancy discrimination lawsuit settled for $80,000

When a woman learns that she is pregnant, it can be one of the most joyous occasions in life. Unfortunately, there are some employers who believe pregnant workers are likely to harm their businesses, so they will try to rid their company of the employees by treating them poorly, denying them opportunities for advancement or even finding excuses to fire them.

In a recent case, a medical documentation company rescinded an employment offer to a woman after the firm found out she was pregnant. According to a news report, the company settled the woman's pregnancy discrimination lawsuit for $80,000. 

How to file an appeal if your disability claim is denied

Like most Americans, you probably have insurance coverage for your home, vehicle and health. Hopefully, you have disability insurance as well, in the event of an accident or injury that prevents you from continuing to support your family through your current source of employment.

However, in some cases, your insurance company might deny your disability claim. But while that process may be frustrating, you can appeal your denial in order to receive long-term disability benefits.

7th Court limits age bias protections

The en banc Seventh Circuit Court, which includes the greater Milwaukee metro area, recently ruled that the protections under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act will now only apply to current employees and not those applying for a new position. This means that older job seekers may find a harder time landing a job in the state of Wisconsin. Under the new interpretation, only those employed with a company can bring suit if they feel that they are being discriminated against for their age in the workplace, such as being passed over for a promotion simply due to the fact that they are older or younger than their co-workers. 

What prompted the ruling?

Passing the Equality Act would help the nation catch up to Wisconsin

Few things make people sit up and notice as they do when a celebrity speaks out. News outlets across Milwaukee and the nation recently paid strict attention when singer Taylor Swift penned a letter to her senator in support of the Equality Act. The measure just passed in the U.S. House of Representatives would amend Title VII by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of prohibited forms of discrimination in the workplace and housing, among other things.

It is not certain that the measure will gain approval in the Senate or that it would be signed into law by the president, but if it does become law, it would be a giant step for the LGBTQ community nationally. However, it should be pointed out that in many ways, the nation would just be catching up to Wisconsin with passage of the Equality Act. Our state banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation more than three decades ago.

Alan C. Olson & Associates | 2880 S Moorland Rd | New Berlin, WI 53151
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