Late last month after Lance Armstrong admitted to the public that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career, we discussed whether that confession would affect a pending whistle-blower lawsuit against the athlete. The U.S. Justice Department has now decided to join that lawsuit, and more than $90 million may be at stake.
One of the most common types of employment rights violations is that which has to do with wages. As we discussed in a post last week, wage theft is a significant problem in many workplaces, and it occurs in many ways. One way that a Wisconsin employer might violate the rights of a worker is by failing to pay the proper overtime wage as required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
When someone's long-term disability benefits claim is denied in Wisconsin, it may be important to seek legal counsel to determine whether the insurer is making a mistake or even acting in bad faith. Long-term disability insurance is a safety net so that workers will have a source of income should they become disabled prior to retiring, but unfortunately, it can be very difficult to obtain benefits.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged - and the judge later held - that Cognis retaliated against a longtime employee at its Kankakee, Ill., facility in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Cognis had required that employee, as a condition of his continued employment, to sign a "last-chance agreement." That agreement prohibited the employee from filing charges of discrimination with the EEOC, even for events that had yet to occur. When the employee informed Cognis that he did not want to be bound by the agreement out of concern about its effect on his civil rights, Cognis fired him.
Many Wisconsin residents may not be aware that overtime wages are governed by the federal government, not their individual employers. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, full-time and non-exempt workers must typically be paid at least time-and-one-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40.
Last week we discussed the 20th anniversary of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and discussed some of the shortfalls of the law. One issue with the FMLA is that in some workplaces, it is only acceptable for women to take job-protected leaves for the birth of a child and not for men to do so. The law makes no such distinction, however many employers here in Wisconsin may be intimidating new fathers and discouraging them from taking advantage of their federal family leave rights.
Some people here in Milwaukee may have heard the news last week that the number of unemployed people with disabilities has recently surged upward. The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that 2 percent more disabled people sought unemployment benefits in January 2013 compared to January 2012.
Becoming struck with a disability can permanently change a person's life. Whether it be a personal relationship, a set of job skills, or the stability of one's health, very little is left unadulterated in life after the onset of a debilitating illness or serious injury. Many in these situations are fortunate enough to have the Social Security Administration's disability benefits program available to them. However, that turn of good fortune is not always extended to those who need it the most.
Most people in Wisconsin are probably unaware that yesterday marked a very important anniversary in employment law history. On Feb. 5, 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act was enacted to strengthen families and employment rights by allowing workers to take job-protected leaves to give birth or adopt a child, or deal with a serious illness or that of a family member. As some people may recall, prior to the FMLA, people often lost their jobs when these family events occurred.
When residents of Wisconsin seek medical advice or care, it is important that they can trust their doctors. Trusting one's physician means believing that he or she will make treatment recommendations based on knowledge and expertise. The news has been filled with stories lately of third-parties--such as pharmaceutical companies--clouding this doctor-patient relationship by offering kickbacks to doctors who help sell their products.