Anyone who has applied for Social Security disability benefits in recent years here in Milwaukee knows that the wait can be long and the process, arduous. As the Social Security Administration continues to grapple with a record-breaking caseload, many disabled Wisconsin workers who are deserving of benefits are instead faced with denials and delays.
In Wisconsin, unemployed workers who otherwise qualify for benefits may typically collect unemployment insurance benefits for 26 weeks. Since the start of the Great Recession, employees have at times been able to collect benefits for as many as 99 weeks. Currently, individuals who became unemployed in early 2011 may collect benefits in Wisconsin for up to 73 weeks. That can mean up to $26,499 in unemployment benefits for unemployed workers who earn the maximum weekly benefit rate of $363.
When someone here in Wisconsin, or anywhere in the United States, learns about a person or business committing fraud against the U.S. government, he or she can file a legal claim on behalf of the government under the False Claims Act. Doing so is fairly complicated, and it can result in the accused party retaliating against the complainant, but it also can result in bringing the fraudulent party to justice.
Here in Milwaukee, fans of the CBS cop drama 'Blue Bloods' may be aware of the real life legal issue troubling the show's star Jennifer Esposito. The actress, who has celiac disease, has accused CBS of placing her on unpaid leave rather than accommodating the needs she has due to a disability.
Ever since the second presidential debate took place earlier this week, there has been a lot of buzz about the gender wage gap in America. As anyone who watched the debate knows, an audience member in the town hall asked the presidential candidates what they plan to do to enforce the right to fair pay if elected.
Wisconsin residents who receive Social Security benefits may have heard that today the government announced that recipients will receive small raises beginning in January. The 1.7 percent increase is a cost-of-living adjustment and it will average out to about $19 in monthly income per Social Security recipient.
When an employee reports a suspected illegal activity of his or her employer, the employee becomes a whistle-blower. This is a very difficult position for an employee to be in because employers often retaliate against whistle-blowers by treating them poorly in the workplace, denying them pay raises or promotions or even firing them. When a whistle-blower is retaliated against, he or she can seek legal counsel in order to recoup damages and hold the employer accountable.
In Wisconsin, and throughout the country, workers are far too often denied the employment benefits that they have been promised. For example, often long-term disability benefits claims will be denied for very questionable reasons. When this happens, it is possible to stand up to fight for one's rights, but it can be quite complicated to determine which company is responsible for the error--as the employer, insurer and plan sponsor might all be separate companies.
Here in Milwaukee, and throughout the country, people are protected from workplace discrimination based upon a number of things. These include race, age, disability, sex, pregnancy, nationality and religion, among others. However, Wisconsin residents may be surprised about something for which they can be discriminated against: their weight.
A frequent topic in this Wisconsin employment law blog is the Americans with Disabilities Act. This federal law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against a person because of his or her disability. In fact, it even requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations when a physical or mental disability makes a work activity difficult or impossible.