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Milwaukee Wisconsin Employment Law Blog

Wisconsin prison supervisor under investigation again

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported early this year that the first settlement was for $55,000. Earlier this month, the newspaper said the Wisconsin Department of Corrections had reached a second settlement with a former employee who had complained about sexual harassment by the same supervisor involved in the earlier settlement.

Now the paper reports that prison supervisor Susan Nygren is on paid leave while the Corrections Department investigates another claim against her.

Wisconsin official personally investigated sexual harassment claim against him

It seems obvious, but is perhaps not obvious enough. When someone is being accused of sexual harassment, that same person should not be the one to investigate the claim. Yet that is exactly what happened when Wisconsin's second top Veterans Affairs official was accused in 2014 of harassing a former veterans program supervisor.

Former Veterans Affairs deputy secretary Mike Trepanier personally investigated the claim lodged against him. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he shelved the claim until it was made again a year later. It was then that an outside review of the allegations took place.

Milwaukee-area case of harassment and retaliation?

A short drive north of Milwaukee will land you in Germantown. The suburb is known for German food, its community garden and its farmers market. The town has made recent headlines after its fire chief quit under a cloud of allegations of “inappropriate” behavior.

Although the exact nature of the allegations have not been made public, the village administrator was quick to tell news outlets that Germantown plans “discrimination, harassment and retaliation policy revisions and training for all village employees."

Pursuit of justice continues in retaliation lawsuit

Abbott Laboratories makes generic pharmaceuticals, medical devices and more. The Chicago-based company has found itself in court recently, facing allegations from a former employee who says the medication-maker fired her after she complained about the firm's promotion practices.

A U.S. District judge recently rejected Abbott's request for dismissal of the retaliation lawsuit.

Illinois campaign worker says she suffered harassment, retalition

House speaker Michael Madigan is a powerful figure in Illinois politics. But his vaunted political operation has been disrupted by a woman who alleges that Madigan aide Kevin Quinn sexually harassed her and that she has been a victim of retaliation as well.

Former campaign worker Alaina Hampton told the Chicago Tribune that her efforts to stop Quinn's advances resulted in a loss of opportunities to work on other campaigns.

Former prison guard awarded $2 million in retaliation lawsuit

If you drive about 250 miles southwest of Chicago, you will come to Fort Madison, Iowa. The modest town of about 11,000 sits along the Mississippi River. Among its biggest employers is the Iowa State Penitentiary. The prison, the state and the Department of Corrections were recently the focus of a lawsuit filed by a former guard who said she was fired for complaining about sexual harassment.

A jury recently decided that the former guard is to receive $2 million for the harassment and retaliation she endured. She worked at the prison for a dozen years, according to a news article.

What is a biometric identifier?

Everyone has biometric identifiers. According to the Illinois General Assembly, the biometric identifiers protected under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) are voice and fingerprint, face and hand geometry and scans of the retina or iris.

But why are biometric identifiers so important? They are starting to use them for various identification purposes in Illinois, mainly in security and banking.

Mistakes employers continue to make in #MeToo era

Across Wisconsin and the nation, the #MeToo movement has encouraged women to speak up about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Men in high-profile positions in politics, government, entertainment and other industries have been removed after accusations of sexual misconduct were leveled.

#MeToo has made employers take a hard look at the way they handle complaints about sexual harassment, retaliation and sexual assault in the workplace. Employment contracts, policies, employee agreements, worker training and more are being reexamined. An employment law attorney wrote recently that employers continue to make mistakes in the #MeToo era.

Suburban Milwaukee company settles pregnancy discrimination suit

A senior care community in a Milwaukee suburb has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former employee who said she was fired because she was pregnant. In the suit filed in U.S. District Court last August, the woman claimed that California-based Silverado Oak Village in Menomonee Falls violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The caregiver at the assisted-living facility stated in court documents that she was fired "because of her sex and pregnancy."

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