When you see the company you work for engaging in shady — or downright illegal — practices, it can seem intimidating to report it. The federal government has whistle-blower laws protecting workers who would bring unethical practices to light. In addition, Wisconsin also has its own laws protecting whistle-blowers. Facing punishment from your employer for these kinds of complaint is called retaliation, and it is a violation of law. If your employer retaliated against your whistle-blowing, you can file a claim against them.
In general, you have six years to file a wrongful discharge lawsuit. Some cases and industries have their own statute of limitation, however. Before a lawsuit can be filed, you must file a complaint and attempt to resolve the issue through a state agency, if applicable. If nothing works or you cannot go through a state agency, it is time to get the courts involved.
For cases involving the Fair Employment Act, specifically discrimination, you should file a claim with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. You have 300 days to do so before the statute of limitations runs out.
For health care and elder care employees, or those who work with toxic substances, you also have 300 days to file a complaint with the Department of Workforce Development. Missing the deadline could mean missing your chance to claim any compensation.
The laws surrounding whistle-blower retaliation are relatively clear, but the process of making a claim can become complicated. A qualified attorney can help you figure out who to file a claim with and how to do so.