Last week we wrote about whistle-blower law and about how workers who report the illegal or fraudulent practices of their employers generally cannot be retaliated against for doing so. There are other types of situations in which employers cannot respond to an employee's complaint by firing him or her as well, and one such case that involved a Wisconsin man just wrapped up.
Whenever an employer in Wisconsin is engaged in fraud or another illegal activity, an employee who knows of these activities can report the actions to authorities. Filing such a report can put employees in an awkward position, as the employer might then retaliate by firing them. This, however, is illegal and the employee can then file a retaliation lawsuit.
Those who ventured out shopping in the early morning hours today, or late night hours Thursday, may have run into a picket line or protest at their local Walmart. In fact, even people in Milwaukee who opted to stay at home and skip the Black Friday frenzy may have received wind about the scattered strikes and demonstrations outside of the some of the big box retailer's stores. It has now been reported that the protests did not affect Walmart's bottom line much, however the media coverage of the events has shined a spotlight on several employment law issues.
Many Wisconsin residents may have heard last week that a whistle-blower has been awarded $104 million for reporting wrongdoings of his former employer UBS. The bank reportedly helped wealthy Americans to hide assets. This award could be largest payout ever given in a whistle-blower case.
When people are injured on the job here in Milwaukee, they may suddenly have several questions about their rights and options. From seeking medical care to navigating the workers' compensation system, to securing time off of work to recuperate, there are many things on the immediate to-do list of the injured worker. The farthest thing from his or her mind should be whether his or her job could be at risk for simply reporting the injury, but unfortunately, that does happen here in Wisconsin and throughout the country.
An interesting case recently came to our attention. It isn't from Wisconsin, but it illustrates how tricky retaliation claims can be.
There may be irony in Olympus Corp.'s recent announcement, but about 3,000 workers may not see it. The company announced earlier this month that they have reached a multimillion dollar settlement with the former chief executive officer; soon after that came the announcement that Olympus will be eliminating almost 3,000 jobs. The executive claimed he lost his job in retaliation for blowing the whistle on the company's illegal accounting practices.
We are continuing our discussion of a case involving contract workers and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. In a work-for-hire situation, an employee may often feel that he is serving two masters. In some circumstances, that is true. In others, however, the fact that the employee works for the agency and not the company (our terms from our April 12 post) is enormously important.
A recent case heard in federal court raised some interesting issues about contract workers and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. As more and more companies are hiring contractors for short-term and long-term assignments, they are finding themselves facing questions about employment issues such as disability accommodations, leave policies and, as in this case, retaliation.
A federal court has given a saleswoman the go-ahead for her retaliation claim against her former employer. The case is unusual, because the judge allowed the claim under the False Claims Act, even though the employee did not report the company to the government.