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Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

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.

HVAC company settles false payroll certification whistleblower claim

We have discussed a range of issues that may provide support for a whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act. Whistleblowers are generally individuals who gain knowledge of fraud related to a federal contract. It is easy to conceptualize overcharging the federal government for services performed or goods provided as a form of fraud. However, fraudulent practices related to a government contract may involve other forms of deception when submitting a bill. A recent case from the Eastern United States highlights how to comply with the law and the terms of the contract may trigger a whistleblower claim.

In the construction industry, federal law may require a contractor to submit certifications of compliance with industry rules for construction contracts. A company on the East Coast contracted to perform plumbing, heating, air conditioning and ventilation work in the renovation or construction of several federal facilities, according to a recent lawsuit.

Question and very obvious answer about FMLA leave

The answer to the question is so obvious that it’s a little surprising that the question keeps getting asked. Here’s the question: “Can an employer require an employee to work during a FMLA leave?” The obvious answer: No.

Yet an employment law attorney who dispenses advice for a business publication says that employers keep posing the question about the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Assistant managers fighting for overtime pay

Lower rung managers who are often treated by employers as laborers are fighting for overtime pay, according to a recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The latest example is a wage-and-hour lawsuit filed against Kohl's Corp. in which assistant store managers claim they are improperly denied overtime wages though most of their work is manual labor, including the unloading freight and stocking shelves.

Federal law requires employers to pay most workers time and a half for work beyond 40 hours in a week.

Wisconsin Supreme Court sides with professor in academic freedom dispute

Political science professor John McAdams was improperly suspended by Marquette University after he published a blog post that criticized a student by name, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided recently.

By a vote of 4-2, the state's high court ruled that the Jesuit university had to immediately reinstate the 72-year-old professor. The court also returned the case to a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge to determine damages, including "unimpaired rank, tenure, compensation and benefits."

Nurse To Receive $1.4M in Hospice Whistleblower Suit

Healthcare providers and businesses in the industry that put their own bottom lines ahead of the needs of patients can cost taxpayers large amounts of money. Billing policies and quotas to increase company revenues are occasionally suspect practices that may indicate that healthcare fraud exists.

A recent whistleblower lawsuit filed under the Federal False Claims Act alleged that a hospice care provider sought to increase its revenues by certifying patients as terminally ill, even though their medical records did not support the medical conclusion.

Wisconsin Supreme Court sides with employer in disability discrimination dispute

The state Supreme Court has sided with employers in a critical dispute over disability discrimination. Charles Carlson alleged in his lawsuit that his employer, Wisconsin Bell, violated the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) when it fired him. The state Supreme Court recently decided that the company did not violate the law when it fired Carlson for conduct that broke workplace rules, even though Bell knew Carlson had bipolar disorder.

Carlson worked in the phone company's customer service call center, but was fired for having personal conversations on a company messaging system, avoiding customer calls and leaving work early.

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