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Alan C. Olson
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Alan Olson’s Answers

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  • Can an employer stop paying a quarterly bonus that is based on completing goals without telling the employee?

    In Wisconsin, can an employer stop paying a quarterly bonus to an employee without prior notice? There is a written document stating that the employee is eligible for a quarterly bonus for completion of goals. The employer states that the submi...

    Alan’s Answer

    The employer cannot take away wages after they were earned.

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  • Will I get in trouble if I collect income generated by Auto Fraud even if I'm not the one committing the fraud?

    I am a Finance Manager for a dealership. I am paid off of the gross profit that is generated by multiple finance managers. I do not commit fraud by way of payment packing, deceptive lending, etc..but there are others doing those things and I am pa...

    Alan’s Answer

    Speaking from an employment law (not criminal law) perspective, if you refuse to participate in the chain of bank and consumer fraud, you are protected from retaliation. In such a case you would need to call out the fraud with management and specifically refuse to participate. As an aside, WI has a one-party consent rule in regard to recording conversations. Such evidence is invaluable in these kinds of cases.

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  • Do I have a right to be reimbursed for past on-call duties performed?

    I'm an IT manager & work for a local government in WI and I discovered the following statement our Employee Handbook (11/15/2011); "On Call Pay: All FLSA professional exempt employees who are assigned to be on call outside of their normal work sc...

    Alan’s Answer

    You have a legal claim going back 3 years under federal law and going back 2 years under Wisconsin law. Under federal law you may recover double damages and attorney fees. Under state law you may recover a 50% enhancer and attorney fees. You can collect under one law or the other, but not both.

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  • How can I protect myself as my employer had me doing illegal and fraudulent things at work?

    My boss had me doing a lot of illegal activities including falsifying documents for employees, falsifying information to avoid paying prior employees' unemployment claims and many more things. I also know my boss has been committing fraud with tax...

    Alan’s Answer

    You have a potential wrongful discharge claim under Wisconsin law and a possible whistleblower case under two federal laws.This fraud violated Wis. Stat. § 943.39:

    Whoever, with intent to injure or defraud, does any of the following is guilty of a Class H felony:
    (1) Being a director, officer, manager, agent or employee of any corporation or limited liability company falsifies any record, account or other document belonging to that corporation or limited liability company by alteration, false entry or omission, or makes, circulates or publishes any written statement regarding the corporation or limited liability company which he or she knows is false;
    * * *
    Wis. Stat. § 943.39.

    This statute was the subject of the most oft-cited wrongful discharge case, Strozinsky v. School Dist. of Brown Deer, 237 Wis. 19, 614 N.W.2d 443 (2000). Under Wisconsin law, the command to violate public policy is not restricted “to the literal language” of the provision or the circumstances it describes. Strozinsky at 454 citing Bushko v. Miller Brewing Co., 134 Wis. 2d 136, 148, 396 N.W.2d 167 (1986) (Abrahamson, J., concurring) (citing Wandry v. Bull's Eye Credit Union, 129 Wis. 2d 37, 42, 384 N.W.2d 325 (1986)). “Instead, we look to the content of the particular provision to determine whether it implicates a fundamental and well defined public policy.” Strozinsky at 454 citing Winkelman v. Beloit Mem'l Hosp., 168 Wis. 2d 12, 24, 483 N.W.2d 211 (1992). Under this approach, we examine whether the employer invoked the power to discharge to contravene the “spirit as well as the letter” of a constitutional, statutory, or administrative provision. Strozinsky at 454 citing Winkelman at 21, (citing Wandry, 129 Wis.2d at 49, 384 N.W.2d 325); see also Hausman, 214 Wis. 2d at 664, 571 N.W.2d 393.

    The public policy of proscribing false reporting in business dealings is fundamental and well defined. Strozinsky at ¶ 51. Section 943.39(1), both in letter and in spirit, deters fraud by threat of punishment. Id. The statute expressly assigns a criminal penalty for falsifying records. Id. The Criminal Code itself manifestly serves the public interest by seeking to eradicate criminal activity. Id

    The 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd–Frank”) created a private right of action allowing employees who believe they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected activity under § 1514A to file suit directly in federal court. The statute's anti-retaliation provision states: “[n]o employer may discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, directly or indirectly, or in any other manner discriminate against, a whistleblower in the terms and conditions of employment because of any lawful act done by the whistleblower—. . . (iii) in making disclosures that are required or protected under the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (15 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.), this chapter, including section 78j–1(m) of this title, section 1513(e) of Title 18, and any other law, rule, or regulation subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.” 15 U.S.C. § 78u–6(h)(1)(A).

    I know this is a lot of legal information to digest. I'd suggest that you interview a few employment law attorneys to find the best one for your case and everything will be made much clearer.

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  • Do I have a case against them for wrongful termination based on my health problems?

    I was employed as a waitress at TGI Fridays and a month after I finished my training I was terminated for having a table walk out because it took 15 minutes for me to bring waters to their table. I was exhausted and did not have enough time to bri...

    Alan’s Answer

    Your facts would indicate that the employer failed to reasonably engage in an interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation for your disability and failed to reasonably accommodate your request not to work double shifts. The employer's admission that your health played a role in the discharge could be a helpful fact. More details and review of your documents would be necessary to properly analyze your case under state and federal law.

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  • What are my legal rights?

    I have been out of work on an approved intermittent FMLA. My employeer have been upset and verbally reprimanding me for missing work, and has questioned how I'm going to make up for the missed time. Now I've been told that I am no longer welcomed...

    Alan’s Answer

    Your employer cannot interfere with your FMLA rights and cannot retaliate against you for exercising your FMLA rights.

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  • Is there anything I can do when HR is telling me that I have to put up with my superviser because they can't afford to lose him?

    I have been sexually harassed by my superviser for the last few months. I would tell my 2 managers so they were aware of what was going on. They both have witnessed certain behaviors towards me. My superviser has asked me personal questions about ...

    Alan’s Answer

    The conduct you describe by the manager and your employer is outrageous! What you describe violates state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination, retaliation and harassment in the workplace. An employment law attorney could assist you in protecting your legal right to a harassment-free workplace.

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  • Is it possible to get a lawyer to take my case with out payment until after the case if finished?

    I was abused and fired unjustly from a job. The manager was fired 6 months later for employee abuse. The employer knew for years that she would target and get rid of anyone who stood up to her. They finally had to remove her. I have not been abl...

    Alan’s Answer

    The Initial Determination from the ERD is a good discussion piece for you to use when interviewing employment lawyers for possible representation in your case. A decent employment lawyer may take a decent case on a contingency basis.

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  • Is this a violation of off the clock work under flsa?

    Hi, I am a non-exempt hourly employee at a hospital/health system. My boss is requiring us to come in early to start up our computers and log into our programs before we can punch in. They also have a 15 minute rounding rule, so if we do punch in ...

    Alan’s Answer

    Here's the analysis:

    An employer's rounding practices violate Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations if they systematically undercompensate employees. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, § 1 et seq., 29 U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq.; 29 C.F.R. § 785.48(b). Alonzo v. Maximus, Inc., 832 F. Supp. 2d 1122 (2011).

    You do need to speak to an employment law expert to sort out the details.

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  • What if any steps should I take.

    Im a 28 year old, mother of 4, and am Native American. I started couponing in Sept 2015. The only store in the small town I live in is Dollar General so that's where I do alot of my couponing. Anyways, I'm 5 months in and was just told by a few em...

    Alan’s Answer

    What you describe is public accommodation discrimination, otherwise referred to as racial profiling. "Racial Profiling" refers to the discriminatory practice by retail stores of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual's race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. Because you shop with your caucasian cousin, your case has an inherent comparator we can use for purposes of proving disparate treatment (discrimination). I've included below a link to a good article on this subject. For a more detailed explanation of your legal rights and monetary remedies, you should contact a discrimination attorney.

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