Understanding Wisconsin’s whistle-blower laws

A workplace is expected to be a safe environment, free of corruption in all of its ugly forms. Yet, many people all over the state of Wisconsin work every day in workplaces filled with blackmail, embezzlement, gross waste of funds and other shady business practices. Fearing for their jobs, witnesses often will do and say nothing. It is important to understand, however, that both federal and state laws protect whistle-blowers from losing their jobs.

Wisconsin protects any employee who reveals illegal or unethical actions of their company. As in most states, it is illegal for an employer to fire, demote or in some other way punish you for whistle-blowing. In fact, doing so could even lead to federal charges, depending on what the whistle-blower reveals and for whom they work. If the company has defrauded the federal government, this is known as a qui tam action and falls under federal jurisdiction.

If the employer retaliates against, or punishes, the whistle-blower, the employee can file a complaint with the state employment relation commission. If the commission rules in favor of the employee, the employer must amend the situation immediately or face fines.

It is important to note that the Wisconsin Supreme Court does not consider healthcare interns as employees, and therefore whistleblower laws do not apply to them. This has raised concern all over the state and country, with citizens calling for whistle-blower law reform. Even so, any other employee within the state of Wisconsin is protected by whistle-blower laws. If you revealed corruption in your workplace and were punished for doing so, it is important to contact an expert attorney. They can guide you through the process of filing a claim and possibly claiming damages.

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