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Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

Wisconsin state prison employees complain of harassment, retaliation

The Fox River flows quietly by the Wisconsin state prison in Allouez. Inside the maximum security facility known as the Green Bay Correctional Institution, changes are coming a little less quietly.

A recent investigative report revealed that employees at GBCI have repeatedly complained of harassment and retaliation by supervisors in a workplace described as "negative, unprofessional" and "unbearable."

Turkeys And iPads Were Used To Entice Business In Whistleblower Claim

A company on the East Coast that provides audiology services has agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit involving claims of unlawful enticements and inappropriate examinations, according to the Department of Justice. Authorities say that the health care company allowed unlicensed individuals to conduct unsupervised audiology tests on patients who were covered by Medicare or Tricare.

The business admitted billing the government programs for reimbursement in violation of the False Claims Act, according to court documents. Additionally, federal officials say that the audiology services provider used unlawful enticements to attract government health care beneficiaries. Included in the promotions were offers of gift cards, turkeys, as well as a contest where beneficiaries of Medicare or Tricare could enter to win an iPad.

UPS settles religious discrimination lawsuit for $4.9 million

The familiar brown-uniformed drivers dart in and out of their familiar brown-colored trucks, dropping off and picking up packages across Milwaukee. Like everyone else in the nation, UPS drivers have freedom of religion and the right to worship as they see fit.

Those rights were recently reaffirmed when UPS agreed to a $4.9 million settlement of a religious discrimination lawsuit. The company had been accused of discriminating against male job applicants who have beards or long hair in accordance with their religious beliefs.

2018 was a year of fighting back against workplace sexual harassment

Like every year that preceded it, 2018 has been a tumultuous one. We don't yet know how history will judge it, but 2018 might well be remembered as 365 days of political outrage and turmoil. It might also be remembered as the year in which the MeToo movement emerged as a force for positive change, enabling people to more effectively report and stop sexual harassment in the workplace.

Milwaukee's flagship National Public Radio station, WUWM, recently aired a report on the movement's impact over the past year, talking to survivors and victims and what MeToo has meant to them.

Freight companies as the targets of whistleblower claim

We have reported many stories that relate to false claims that have allegedly been submitted to federal programs under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act. The FCA applies to any type of government contract. Procurement fraud can harm not only taxpayers, but federal agencies or the military through unfairly depleting resources. Private businesses frequently seek contracts with the federal government to provide goods and services to government agencies.

The Department of Justice has announced that it is pursuing a lawsuit against several freight companies to recover taxpayer money that was allegedly obtained for shipments of goods for the Department of Defense. A whistleblower initially brought forth the allegations.

Sexual harassment scandal led to Wisconsin educator's downfall

Some are hailing the decision by University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper to step down from her position on Dec. 31. Kopper announced her resignation in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual harassment by female university employees against her husband.

But state Sen. Steve Nass calls the chancellor's exit agreement "a taxpayer-funded scam." Kopper will be paid more than $160,000 while on administrative leave through August 2019, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Whistleblower claim over mechanical thrombectomy device settles

Medical device manufacturers may seek to track the use and effectiveness of its products in many ways. However, the Department of Justice says that Covidien went too far by providing kickbacks for institutions that provided registry data. Authorities say that the manufacturer launched a registry to collect data regarding its mechanical thrombectomy device, Solitaire.

Soon after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device, the manufacturer began to solicit hospitals and health care institutions to provide information about use of the product and patient experiences. The company paid fees for any data input to the registry, according to the recently settled lawsuit.

Ex-Target pharmacist gets $570,000 in whistleblower lawsuit

As one of the nation's largest retailers, Target has more than 10 stores scattered across the Milwaukee metro area. The department store chain recently agreed to pay almost $3 million to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit that claimed the company violated Medicaid prescription rules prohibiting automatic refills.

The former Target pharmacist who filed the lawsuit in 2015 under the federal False Claims Act will receive $570,000 as his share of the settlement. His employment law attorney is slated to be paid $230,000 by Target for his work on the case.

ADA violations alleged at Walmart

Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, so of course it has several big stores in and around Milwaukee. A new lawsuit against the discount giant states that a supervisor at an outlet told workers that an HIV-positive clerk had AIDS. The suit says the lie resulted in workplace ostracism and a significant decline in both her physical and mental health.

An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report says the evidence shows that the clerk was "harassed because of her disability and subjected to retaliatory disciplinary action after complaining." The federal agency adds that the supervisor violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by sharing confidential information about the woman's health condition with co-workers.

Milwaukee climbs up list of worst cities for black Americans

Though some progress has been made here over the years, black Americans living in Milwaukee make only half of what their white counterparts earn, Wisconsin Public Radio recently reported. African Americans are also 12 times more likely to be incarcerated than white city residents.

The radio network says a financial company has ranked Milwaukee the second worst city in the nation for black Americans to live in. Racine has similar disparities in income and criminal justice, and places third on the list of the 15 worst cities for black Americans compiled by 24/7 Wall St.

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