When an employee in Wisconsin decides to blow the whistle on his or her employer by exposing fraud, he or she can generally do this anonymously. Depending on which government whistleblower program the claim falls under, employees may be able to file the claim completely anonymously, or they may have to tell the government who they are, but not their their employers.
Many Wisconsin residents have long-term disability insurance policies through their employers. Despite the fact that the terms and administration of these plans must comply with federal law, long-term disability insurers are notorious for denying claims.
Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, recently settled a disability discrimination lawsuit, filed by the EEOC on behalf of a worker, for $100,000. Judy Henderson, who worked for the home improvement chain as a cashier for 13 years, requested permission to take an unpaid leave of absence to attend cancer treatments. The EEOC alleged that while Home Depot granted the leave, it later advised Ms. Henderson that if she did not advise the company of her status during the leave it would terminate her employment. Ms. Henderson provided medical notes confirming her return to work date. Nonetheless, Home Depot fired her claiming an alleged lack of work. However, the EEOC noted that in the past Home Depot used temporary lay offs when there was a lack of work and the company even hired two cashiers after Ms. Henderson submitted her medical documentation. According to an EEOC press release, the Home Depot's excuse for termination "was but a subterfuge for disability discrimination." EEOC regional attorney, Debra M. Lawrence stated, "it flies in the face of common sense and common decency to refuse to work with an employee who is battling cancer."
Many Wisconsin residents may have heard last week that a whistle-blower has been awarded $104 million for reporting wrongdoings of his former employer UBS. The bank reportedly helped wealthy Americans to hide assets. This award could be largest payout ever given in a whistle-blower case.
As many workers in Wisconsin know, long-term disability is meant to protect workers if they are to become disabled before they retire. Sometimes, workers purchase a long-term disability policy directly from an insurer, and other times it is offered as part of an employment benefits package. As is generally the case with insurance, long-term disability insurance is an important safety net but we all hope we never have to use it. And, if we do have to use it, we may be in for a battle just to get the compensation to which we are legally entitled.
For those in Wisconsin who have ever been in need of Social Security disability benefits, it must make your blood boil when you read news stories about SSDI fraud--people who do not deserve these benefits somehow making their way through the tedious application process. Many of us wonder how legitimate claims can be so often denied while fraudulent claims are approved.
Under the Family Medical Leave Act, employees may take unpaid and job-protected leave for 12 weeks for the birth, adoption or foster care of a child; to deal with a serious health condition; or to care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition. There are also further opportunities to take leave for members of the military and their immediate family members.
Here in Wisconsin, and throughout the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act generally requires employers to move workers who may lose their jobs because of disabilities into vacant positions for which they are qualified. This is a very important protection under federal employment law, because a disability can strike an American worker at any time and this should not automatically result in job loss.
Judges consider several factors at unemployment insurance misconduct hearings.
When people are injured on the job here in Milwaukee, they may suddenly have several questions about their rights and options. From seeking medical care to navigating the workers' compensation system, to securing time off of work to recuperate, there are many things on the immediate to-do list of the injured worker. The farthest thing from his or her mind should be whether his or her job could be at risk for simply reporting the injury, but unfortunately, that does happen here in Wisconsin and throughout the country.