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Milwaukee Wisconsin Employment Law Blog

Harley-Davidson workers allege racial discrimination, harassment

Harley-Davidson was founded right here in Milwaukee more than 100 years ago. Though the company is known for its high-quality motorcycles, its reputation has been altered by allegations made by employees at the company’s Kansas City plant.

Workers there say that have for years been subjected to racial discrimination and harassment. At a recent press conference, employees said that they have seen swastikas and nooses displayed at the factory and have repeatedly heard racial epithets. Graffiti there has been aimed at black employees, telling them to go back to Africa.

When an employer’s actions are considered retaliation

Employers can only subject workers to negative consequences in certain circumstances. If your employer is retaliating against you for something you said or did at work, they may be violating your employment rights.

Here’s when an employer is and isn’t allowed to take action against you.

Illinois legislature moves forward on new sexual harassment law

Last month, the Illinois state Senate passed the Workplace Transparency Act (Senate Bill 1829), a measure that would overhaul requirements for employers within the state regarding sexual harassment claims. The bill is still under consideration by the Illinois House of Representatives.

If passed, the Workplace Transparency Act would increase protections for employees – including safeguarding their right to report sexual harassment.

Will long-term disability get me terminated?

The month of May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. According to studies, one in four workers will experience a disability that prevents them from working by the time they reach retirement.

If you develop a disability, employment laws protect you from losing your job automatically. However, there are limits to this protection. For example, what if you are suffer a long-term disability that prevents you from doing your old job?

Man berates female attorney before losing sexual harassment suit

The jury took just 90 minutes to arrive at its decision on punitive damages. To say the jury found in favor of the woman who said she had been sexually harassed by her former employer would be an understatement. The numbers make the jury’s decision much clearer: she was awarded $8 million in punitive damages from the self-proclaimed billionaire hologram producer.

That brings the total amount awarded to her in the sexual harassment case to more than $11 million. The plaintiff argued that the defendant demanded sex and then fired her when she refused.

Federal review of sexual misconduct in Wisconsin National Guard

Because of the nature of the work and the places in which that work can be carried out, many people don’t think of members of the military as part of a workplace. But the reality for members of the Wisconsin National Guard is that most of the time, they are assigned to do their duties in places virtually everyone would recognize as a workplace.

Unfortunately, far too often the Wisconsin National Guard has been plagued with allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. According to recent news reports, federal officials are now conducting a review of the sexual misconduct policies of the Guard.

Workplace sexual harassment prevention bill introduced

It’s known as the Be HEARD Act, but its more formal name is the Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination in the Workplace Act. The goal of the bill co-sponsored y Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin is to create federal protections against sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace.

The bill would also create protections against sexual orientation-based discrimination and require employers to report sexual harassment.

Amnesty International in disputes over harassment, discrimination

The #MeToo movement has already taught the nation many valuable lessons. One of the most important is that even organizations and people you might assume would not be involved in matters of sexual harassment and retaliation can sometimes find themselves credibly accused of both.

We read recently of a former Amnesty International USA advocacy director who claims he was fired in retaliation for helping organize a petition on behalf of unpaid interns. The legendary nonprofit organization says Raed Jarrar, its former Middle East and Africa advocacy director, was fired after its own investigation determined that a complaint against him of “inappropriate conduct toward a female coworker” was legitimate.

Part II: Illinois Senate gets package of sexual harassment bills

Regular readers of our blog know that in a previous post, we wrote about Illinois state Sen. Melinda Bush’s four proposals designed to protect workers from unlawful misconduct in the workplace.

In addition to the previously mentioned bills, Bush has also submitted SB 1588, which would put workplace sexual harassment on the list of complaints a person can submit to a court in order to get a No Contact order from a judge. As things stand now, those orders are limited to victims of sexual abuse and violence, but cannot be extended to harassment victims.

Part I: Illinois Senate gets package of sexual harassment bills

It might not be a regular occurrence, but there are occasions on which it makes sense to laud government efforts to address problems. It’s good to see the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee approving a package of four legislative proposals to beef up protections for people subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace.

The sponsor of the bills, Sen. Melinda Bush, is from Grayslake, a metro area village about 40 miles north of downtown Chicago. "Last year, we dealt with a lot of things that happened under the dome," Bush said of the state Senate.

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