When an employer is doing illegal or dangerous activity, this can have a negative impact on customers and on society at large. This is why speaking up about the wrongdoing is so critical for an employee who discovers it, in Wisconsin or elsewhere. Unfortunately, being a whistleblower can have unintended consequences, such as getting fired by the employer. An individual who becomes a victim of employer retaliation after blowing the whistle can seek to hold the company responsible for this unjust action.
One former employee who worked for a well-known out-of-state university was recently involved in a retaliation case, which has been settled. The situation started when he sued the university, claiming that officials there did not respond to his complaints regarding doctors’ willingness to accept payments that might jeopardize patient care. In particular, he said doctors had financial connections to manufacturers of medical devices that could inappropriately influence their patient care. He claimed this was happening on a large scale.
The university officials then reportedly retaliated against the man, who was chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery. The institution admitted to no wrongdoing after the man filed a suit against it. However, it says that it decided to pay him $10 million in order to prevent further legal costs.
A business in Wisconsin is not allowed to retaliate against a worker for blowing the whistle on it. If a person decides to be a whistleblower, which requires a personal sacrifice, he or she may elect to file a claim against an employer who attempts to punish him or her for doing so. It’s possible to succeed in this type of case if there is overwhelming proof that the employer indeed did engage in reprisal, harassment or discrimination in response to the whistleblowing.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “UC OKs paying surgeon $10 million in whistleblower-retaliation case“, Chad Terhune, April 22, 2014