Tag Archives: WFEA

Good WFEA Case Decision re Retaliation Based on Good Faith Complaint of Discrimination

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals issued a decision involving the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) decision,which is good for WI employees alleging retaliatory discharge under WFEA discrimination law.

The decision was in favor of an employee-complainant who complained of “discrimination” generally to a manager (without specifically referencing the type/protected class basis) shortly before being fired.

http://www.wisbar.org/res/capp/2011/2010ap001902.htm , Town of Rome v. LIRC, 2010AP001902 09-08-11

According to the decision, the employee’s complaint about discrimination, while not specific, was sufficient to protect her under WFEA’s anti-retaliation law.

The case also supports WFEA’s in-part standard, that the employer is liable for mixed motive termination if it would not have fired the employee in the absence of its (partial) motivation to retaliate against the employee for her opposing discrimination.

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Learn ALL About Your Rights Before You Give Your Employer An Earful About Them

On various occasions I have received calls from employees who became aware of various legal rights (e.g. ADA discrimination law rights) from information they found on the internet (e.g. EEOC’s website pages about ADA rights).

While it is a great thing to educate yourself, please do not make the mistake of assuming the information you learned is comprehensive, or means what you think it does.  And please, please don’t rush to your employer, and admonish them based on your internet-based understanding of your rights (e.g. “EEOC’s website tells me you’re a bad employer and violating ADA law because you won’t give me the reasonable accommodations I asked for!!”).

There are many, many problems that can arise when an employee avoids talking to an attorney and takes a do-it-yourself analysis of legal rights based on internet research or other incomplete information.

For example, you may learn from internet research that the ADA provides the right to a “reasonable accommodation” for employees who have disabilities.  What you may not have read on the internet is the fact that many federal courts have determined, for many employee-litigants, that their serious physical conditions (e.g. cancer, diabetes) did not meet ADA’s legal definition of a “disability.”  If you have cancer, a court may or may not find that your cancer may qualify as a “disability” under the ADA definition.  Only if your condition is found to be an ADA disability, would you be legally-entitled to any reasonable accommodation.  Moreover, in order to get a legal decision, you may have to expend a good deal of time (possibly years) and expense (e.g. some medical experts will charge hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour to testify whether your condition is a disability).

These are the things that an internet search usually won’t tell you, that a competent employment attorney can.  (Please note: there are some good things that could happen from you pursuing your legal rights that an employment attorney could tell you about too; but the purpose of this post is to tell you how to prevent bad things from happening).

Before you rush to admonish your employer about any legal right, you should strongly consider talking to an attorney.  Many employee rights attorneys will provide free initial consultations over the phone, and even a single consultation should educate you about some wrong assumptions you made based on internet information, and could save you from making some serious mistakes in your future conduct with respect to your employer.

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Employee Tip: Probable Cause Determination from ERD- Now What?

Many employees file discrimination complaints with Wisconsin’s Equal Rights Division (ERD) without retaining an attorney. If you are an ERD complainant without an attorney, and you just received a “probable cause” determination, you may be wondering “now what?” Or at least you should be. In the time following a probable cause determination, things will get more formal and legalistic. You should get the most information you can about what’s to come.

Below, I’ll discuss what a “probable cause” (PC) determination means, what a “no probable cause” (NPC) determination means, and what each determination may mean for you. Bad news first.

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Employee Tip: Dealing With Sexual Harassment

If you are an employee in Wisconsin and feel you are (or were) being sexually-harassed, you should know the following:

(A) Know how the law defines sexual harassment;

(B) Keep proof (documentation or recordings);

(C) Learn your employer’s policies before complaining or taking action;

(D) Do not act angrily or righteously;

(E) Before complaining, consider the risks of retaliation;

(F) Proactively arrange for Plan B (e.g. a new job, or transfer to different boss); and

(G) Don’t quit because the employer tells you to.

This information is described in more detail below.

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Employee Tip: Things to Consider Before Filing a Discrimination Complaint at the Wisconsin ERD or EEOC

If you are an employee thinking of filing a discrimination complaint with the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division (ERD) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there are several things you may want to consider before submitting the complaint.

Please note 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 matter, you can contact Mr. Brown and his law firm DVG Law Partner here:

First, you can review ERD’s website here for information about Wisconsin’s discrimination law, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA), and about filing a complaint at ERD. You can also review EEOC’s information about filing a complaint (also called a “charge”) here. Continue reading

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Employee Tip: Reducing Problems at Work Relating to Your Medical Condition

People with medical conditions often have unique requirements or problems arise at work. You should consider the following things to reduce the risk of problems.

Please note 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 or his law firm DVG Law Partner for your matter, please contact them here:

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Employee Tip: Preparing for Mediation at the Equal Rights Division

If you have a discrimination complaint at the Equal Rights Division (ERD) and are scheduled for mediation (settlement discussions), you can prepare in the following ways to improve your chances of reaching a favorable settlement. While the information below is tailored to ERD proceedings, it should be useful for EEOC mediation and other types of mediation and/or settlement negotiations.

Please note 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 matter, you can contact Mr. Brown and his law firm DVG Law Partner here:

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