Whistle-blower protections in Wisconsin

Health care employees in Wisconsin may benefit from learning more about the protections for whistle-blowers provided by the state. The protections are guaranteed under the Health Care Worker Protection statute that was introduced in 1999. People who report standard of care violations in good faith are indemnified against retaliation from their employer. Concerns regarding hospital errors and nursing home complaints have been on the rise, as the frequency of each has increased over the past few decades.

Hospital errors has risen to become one of the leading causes of death in America over the past decade. Complaints in nursing home typically involve failure to receive a response from requests for assistance, improper handling of residents leading to accidents, poor resident assessments and care plans, poor administration of medication and inattentiveness to residents. The Department of Workforce Development is responsible for receiving, investigating and resolving allegations made by health care workers in Wisconsin.

After reaching a conclusion, the DWD investigator will issue an Initial Determination report to all parties involved, indicating whether or not there is probable cause that a violation of the law occurred. The complaint is dismissed if the DWD investigator determines that there was no probable cause. If probable cause is cited in the report, the case is certified to appear before a judge of administrative law. If no probable cause was apparent to the DWD investigator, the complainant can request to have a hearing before an administrative judge.

A qui tam lawyer may be able to help spurned employees receive back pay and reinstatement if employer retaliation occurred. Legal counsel may be able to work alongside state agencies in investigating and examining the claims made by the client.

Source: State Bar of Wisconsin, “Wisconsin Health Care Workers: Whistleblower Protection“, August 20, 2014

Source: State Bar of Wisconsin, “Wisconsin Health Care Workers: Whistleblower Protection“, August 20, 2014

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