Monthly Archives: March 2009

To Employees Having Trouble Reaching Employee Rights Attorneys…

As of late, with the economic downturn, many employees have tried contacting Employee Rights attorneys, including my firm and me, but have had trouble being able to speak to an attorney, or to arrange a consultation, etc.  In the past, I tried to offer brief and free phone consults for all who called, but at this time logistically I cannot speak with many people, or have consultations free of charge.

If you don’t speak to me, please know this is nothing at all personal about you or your matter.  Also, if you have troubles reaching other employee rights attorneys, please do not take that personally, either.

If you think there is any chance you may proceed with a legal action, it is important you promptly learn about your rights and any deadlines (statutes of limitations) that may apply.

If you want to speak to an employee rights attorney in Wisconsin or any other State, please consider visiting the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) website here, where you can do a by-State search, and get listings of employee rights attorneys’ contact information. I give you this link with the disclaimer that I am not recommending that you retain, or not retain,  any particular attorney who may be listed.  This is just a centralized resource where many employee rights attorneys’ contact information is  located.

Hopefully, you will get through to an attorney who is available and who you are comfortable with.

If anyone knows of a free attorney/legal resource(s) that is available and focused on receiving inquiries from employees with employment law concerns, particularly in WI, please let me know.  I’d be happy to forward the contact information.

Thank you very much for your inquiries, and sorry again if we don’t get to talk.


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Filed under Employee Tip - Considering a Legal Action

Deeply Troubling Employee Conduct in France

According to this CNN article,  some French workers responded to frustration with looming layoffs, and with executives, by holding executives hostage.

According to the workers, they have no intent to harm the executives, they just want to force them into negotiations.

The workers’ frustrations with layoffs and executives, I understand.  I sympathize with many workers immensely, and many have problems that are real and substantial.

But these workers’ means of dealing with those frustrations, and their actions, are very troubling.

Now more than ever, we all need to touch base with our humanity, our fundamental principles, and our respect for the Other- especially when we have profound disagreements and distrust with the Other.   In saying this, I am foremost mindful of my own progress that need be made in this regard, and I try to remind myself of these principles, especially when my emotions incline me to react in a petty or righteous way.  We are all serious works in progress, and these times have made many of us fixate on others’ perceived or actual misconduct rather than exploring whether we ourselves have any, even when what our body’s are doing (free from our moral oversight) is as obviously wrong as holding a boss hostage.

Consider this famous quote:

“In conflict, be fair and generous.  In governing, don’t try to control.  In work, do what you enjoy.  In family life, be completely present.”- Tao Te Ching.

How can any of these things be accomplished by holding their bosses hostage?  How are workers not embodying that same root misconduct- the same core marginalization or apathy- that they want others to stop?

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Filed under Philosophy - Employee Rights

For Those in WI Considering a Do-It-Yourself Discrimination Complaint, Consider This…

On many occasions, employees have called me for advice afterthey have filed a discrimination complaint with Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division (ERD), or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

When I review their situations, I find that many of those employees should not, in my opinion, have filed their discrimination complaints.  These employees’ matters are not usually frivolous, and there is usually sound basis to think their employers treated them unfairly.  However, being treated unfairly does not itself make for a good discrimination claim.

This is one of the many important things an employment attorney could tell you before you file a discrimination complaint- that is, if you ask.  There are some other important factors that do-it-yourselfers, given their unfamiliarity with the legal process, are commonly unaware of.

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Filed under Employee Info/Tips - Pre-Litigation - Hiring an Attorne, Employee Tip - Considering a Legal Action

Employee Tip: Requesting Your Personnel File (Employee Records) from Your Wisconsin Employer

Wisconsin law requires that an employer provide an employee, upon his or her request, with a copy of the employee’s file, also called a “personnel file.”  A Wisconsin employer must provide the personnel file to current and former employees upon their request.

This post describes how a Wisconsin employee can go about requesting his or her personnel file.

Please note (1) this post is not referring to any State’s requirements other than Wisconsin’s: many states outside Wisconsin have their own particular personnel file requirements; and (2) this post does not provide legal advice- if you want legal advice, you should contact an attorney and discuss your specific circumstances. If you are interested in legal assistance from attorney-author Michael Brown for your Wisconsin unemployment matter, you can contact Mr. Brown and his law firm DVG Law Partner here:

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Filed under Employee Tip - Considering a Legal Action, Employee Tip - Problems at Job