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December 2014 Archives

McDonald's charged for workers' rights violations

Wisconsin McDonald's employees may be interested to learn that on Dec. 19, the National Labor Relations Board filed complaints against the fast-food restaurant for violating its workers' rights. According to the complaint, some of the franchisees took actions against employees who attempted to improve their working conditions and wages.

Whistle-blowers awarded $170 million

People in Wisconsin may be interested in the outcome of the huge Bank of America and Countrywide whistle-blower case that was settled in August 2014. According to unsealed court documents, three individual whistle-blowers and one small New Jersey mortgage company were awarded $170 million as part of Bank of America's $17 billion settlement in relation to the case. The man who initially blew the case open, a former property appraisal company employee, will receive $56 million, while a former Countrywide executive will receive $58 million. A former Countrywide manager will receive $48 million, and the mortgage company will receive $8.5 million.

Comparing federal and state family and medical leave laws

Wisconsin employees may be interested in information about how the federal and state laws governing medical and family leave differ. Depending on the strength of each law in a particular area, different provisions could apply. Any time a Wisconsin state family and medical leave law provides greater protection than the federal law, an employer in Wisconsin must abide by the stronger state law. Employers who are covered by both state and federal lawmust continually comply with both. The requirement for employer coverage under Wisconsin law is that there must be at least 50 permanent employees over at least 6 months during the past year. The federal requirement is the same regarding the number of employees, but it must be for at least 20 weeks over the previous or current year.

A new possible treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma

As those who are battling the disease in Wisconsin may already know, Hodgkin's lymphoma can be deemed incurable and potentially fatal for some people who are resistant to the available treatments. The disease strikes a large number of younger adults, potentially leaving them scrambling as they go through rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and other assorted antineoplastic therapeutic treatments.

Wisconsin medical or sick leave

While Wisconsin has a law that requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide a certain amount of time off for medical leave, the state does not have an actual sick leave law. A paid leave law, or sick time, would allow an employee to take a certain number of days off per calendar year while still getting paid for those days.

Sanofi accused of firing paralegal whistleblower

A recent former paralegal for Sanofi SA, a French drug maker, claims that she was fired after objecting to an alleged bribing strategy to sell more insulin medications in the United States. Drug manufacturer employees in Wisconsin might have heard about the reportedly illegal activity.

Intermittent leave and reduced schedules under the FMLA

Wisconsin workers who are covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 may be eligible for leave under certain circumstances. For example, if certain requirements are met, a worker may be able to seek a reduced schedule or intermittent leave without fear of retaliation if the worker or the workers family suffers from certain medical conditions.

What is the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act was originally instituted during the Civil War to protect the Union Army from malicious military contractors and has been amended many times since. Any person may file an action under the FCA, and Wisconsin residents dealing with business that involve the government or an agency that works with the government may benefit from being familiar with its basic principles.

What is long-term disability insurance?

Workers in Wisconsin may have questions about long-term disability insurance. Many employers offer this type of insurance as an optional benefit that workers can purchase through their employment. Many workers forgo this insurance, especially those that are younger who may feel that it is unlikely they will become disabled. However, choosing to purchase this type of insurance may provide some help to many people.

Wisconsin workers' rights regarding verbal abuse

The odds of being on the receiving end of verbal abuse in the workplace have been increasing. A report by the U.S. Workforce Bullying Institute in 2010 showed that 35 percent of the workers involved in their study said that they had experienced abuse during the performance of their job.

Can an employer request a medical exam?

Wisconsin employers are prohibited by state and federal law from discriminating against employees and prospective employees based on disability. Disability discrimination is covered by the Rehabilitation Act or the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, as well as by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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