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Court Cases in the News

A state-by-state review of court cases pertaining to workplace rights.

Select your state from the map below or from this list. (If your state does not have any court cases, then the page will not scroll down when you click on the state.)

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Wisconsin Court Upholds Law Curbing Unions' Rights

Source: Mark Peters and Caroline Porter, The Wall Street Journal
Date: July 31, 2014

Wisconsin's highest court upheld a law ending most collective-bargaining rights for government employees in the state, a blow for public-sector unions that have been stymied in their efforts to reverse the controversial measure championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Judge Voids Wisconsin Law Curbing Unions

Source: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Date: May 26, 2011

The law, which Governor Walker proposed and vigorously pushed, and which generated huge protests in Madison, the state capital, bars public-sector unions, except those representing police officers and firefighters, from bargaining over health benefits and pensions. It allows bargaining over wages, but does not permit raises higher than the inflation rate unless they are approved in a public referendum.

Green Bay Meat Plant Settles Discrimination Case

Source: Wisconsin Ag Connection, Wisconsin Ag Connection
Date: February 7, 2011

A state meatpacking company has agreed to pay $1.65 million to settle a sex-discrimination lawsuit for rejecting 970 female applicants over a two-year period.

Wis. Company Accused of Disclosing Medical Details

Source: AP, Chicago Tribune
Date: October 4, 2010

A federal agency accuses an Appleton nonprofit of violating a temporary employee's rights by disclosing confidential details about his medical history.

Official Investigation Launched for Wisconsin DA Ken Kratz, Accused of Sexting

Source: Lee Ferran, Jim Vojtech, Steven Portnoy, ABC News
Date: September 23, 2010

Two formal complaints have been filed against the Wisconsin district attorney accused of sexually harassing three women over text messages on separate occasions, paving the way for an official investigation that could end in the DA's dismissal.

Discrimination Settlement Proposed

Source: Rick Romell, Journal Sentinal - Milwauke
Date: August 31, 2010

Deal calls for Waukesha Engine to pay $1.1 million.

Pilgrim's Pride To Pay $1 Million Fine To Settle Labor Dispute

Source: USAgNet, Wisconsin Ag Connection
Date: February 2, 2010

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor to pay about $1 million to settle a review regarding payment to some employees.

Madison to Pay $235K in Sexual Harassment Case

Source: AP, Green Bay Press Gazette
Date: January 25, 2010

The city of Madison has agreed to pay $235,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by an employee who claims she was groped and fondled hundreds of times by a disgraced former city official.

Back pay due for workers of Bay View castings company

Source: Rich Rovito, The Business Journal of Milwaukee
Date: March 12, 2008

Nearly 400 current and former employees of Aluminum Casting & Engineering Co. are eligible for back wages stemming from the withholding of pay raises during a 1995 union organizing campaign. Employees of the company, also known as Ace Co., are eligible to collect as much as $1,250 each in back pay, according to the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers union, which led the organizing campaign.

Target settles race bias suit for $510,000

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Date: December 11, 2007

Target Corp. will pay $510,000 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit alleging the Minneapolis-based discount chain refused to hire four African-Americans because of their race. The consent decree signed Monday by Federal Judge Rudolph T. Randa ends a six-year legal battle between Target and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving stores in the Milwaukee and Madison areas.

Appleton woman says Catholic schools fired her for in vitro fertilization

Source: Carrie Antlfinger, Associated Press, Journal Times
Date: May 10, 2006

A woman claims a Catholic school system in Wisconsin illegally fired her for having in vitro fertilization, which Catholic writings have called immoral. Kelly Romenesko, whose discrimination complaint is due for a hearing Friday, was teaching French at [schools] in Appleton when she asked for some time off to complete the procedure. About a month later, the lifelong Catholic told her boss she was pregnant. Days after that she was fired. The district claimed she violated a provision of her employment contract, which said a teacher has to act in accordance with Catholic doctrine.

Discrimination award increases

Source: Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Date: August 30, 2005

A federal judge has awarded an additional $1.5 million to 17 white men from the Milwaukee Police Department who won a discrimination suit against the city and former Police Chief Arthur Jones. In April, a federal jury decided that Jones, who is black, discriminated on the basis of race and gender when he did not promote the men to the rank of captain. The jury awarded the men $2.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Monday, U.S. District Judge Thomas J. Curran ordered the defendants to pay the additional $1.5 million to compensate the plaintiffs for the loss of the higher salaries and the pensions they would have earned had they been promoted fairly.

Jury awards $1.56 M in Nicolet bias case

Source: Kevin Murphy, The Capital Times
Date: June 29, 2005

Federal jurors awarded $1.56 million Tuesday, of which $1.4 million is punitive damages, to a former Nicolet Biomedical sales manager after they found he was fired on the basis of his Arab heritage and because he had complained of ethnic discrimination. Sami Elestwani was a "key accounts" manager working out of Nicolet's Fitchburg offices, and traveled weekly to meet customers. On Nov. 8, 2002, Elestwani charged that his supervisor, Philip Moses, told him he would be reassigned because of concerns about his ability to do the job due to the situation in the country after 9/11.

Jury awards $2.2 million in police chief bias suit

Source: Juliet Williams, Associated Press, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Date: April 6, 2005

Jurors awarded a total of nearly $2.2 million Tuesday to 17 white police officers who won a discrimination lawsuit against a former police chief and the city [of Milwaukee]. The federal jury found last week that Chief Arthur Jones promoted less-qualified women and minorities ahead of the male plaintiffs, all lieutenants who had hoped to be captains. During his seven years as chief, Jones promoted 41 people to captain, 21 of them white men. Compensatory damages ranged from $9,500 to $50,000 each for the officers, while each also should get $102,000 in punitive damages from the city. The officers' attorney, William Rettko, said the officers felt vindicated by the verdict.

Jury begins deliberating in Milwaukee discrimination case

Source: Juliet Williams, Associated Press, Duluth News Tribune
Date: April 5, 2005

A jury began deliberating Tuesday how much money should go to 17 white police officers who won a discrimination lawsuit against a former police chief and the city [Milwaukee]. The federal jury found last week that Chief Arthur Jones promoted less-qualified women and minorities ahead of the male plaintiffs, all lieutenants who had hoped to be captains. During his seven years as chief, Jones promoted 41 people to captain, 21 of them white men. In closing arguments Tuesday, the officers' attorney, William Rettko, said each of the men deserves hundreds of thousands of dollars for their emotional and physical suffering and for their loss of status in the community.

Businesses sue to overturn Madison's minimum wage

Source: Todd Richmond, Associated Press, Pioneer Press
Date: December 11, 2004

A business coalition filed a lawsuit Friday to block the city's new minimum wage, saying the City Council didn't have the authority to adopt the measure and small businesses would suffer. The lawsuit represents another skirmish in the fight over whether to raise Wisconsin's minimum wage, as well as a larger question of whether local municipalities can take matters into their own hands. The City Council adopted an ordinance in March that raises the minimum wage for most workers in phases from the state minimum $5.15 an hour to at least $7.75 an hour by Jan. 1, 2008. The first increase, to $5.70, is set to go into effect with the new year.

Employers: refer workers with care: detrimental comments could result in lawsuit

Source: Teresa M. McAleavy, The Record [New Jersey], Akron Beacon Journal [Ohio]
Date: May 24, 2004

A recent precedent-setting case prompted labor attorney Anthony Oncidi to warn his clients about the potential pitfalls of giving employee references. The decision came from Wisconsin. In the case, the employee got a judgment from a jury that granted him $33,000 in compensatory and $250,000 in punitive damages. The jury found there had been malice associated with the employer's defamatory statements against this employee.

Track Coach Tegen Sues UW-Madison, Charges Bias

Source: Andy Baggot and Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal
Date: April 6, 2004

Ten months after announcing plans to retire, longtime UW-Madison women's track and cross country coach Peter Tegen has filed a federal lawsuit against the school, accusing it of age and gender discrimination. Tegen, 64, claims in the suit that his contract was not renewed last spring in part because UW Athletic Department officials are biased against a man coaching women's track and cross country. When the contract was not renewed last June, Tegen announced his intent to retire effective at the end of the 2003-04 school year. Tegen, who started the two highly successful programs in 1975, also alleges the non-renewal was in retaliation for his outspoken opinions on matters of public concern.

EEOC Sues Home Depot

Source: Associated Press, Milwaukee Channel
Date: January 30, 2004

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued The Home Depot Inc., claiming it fired an employee in retaliation for complaints she made about racial and sexual discrimination. The lawsuit filed in federal court claims Renee Stachura complained about discriminatory conduct against a black employee, and about racial and sexual language at a Waukesha store, but that management took no action, the EEOC said Friday. When a male employee about whom Stachura had complained made a similar, though untrue, complaint about her, she was fired, the EEOC said.

EEOC Sues Racine Company Over Alleged Discrimination

Source: Journal Times
Date: October 1, 2003

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Johnson Financial Group for allegedly discriminating against a pregnant woman seeking an executive job. The Racine company offered Rae Ann Good a $170,000-a-year job as an executive vice president last year, the federal agency said. It withdrew the offer after company executives learned she was pregnant, according to the lawsuit.

Firm Sues Temporary Employment Agency

Source: David Doege, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Date: September 26, 2003

A temporary employment agency that allegedly placed a bookkeeper in a job where she subsequently stole more than $45,000 was named in a lawsuit Thursday accusing it of failing to perform background checks that would have revealed the woman was a thief who twice filed for bankruptcy. Tempsplus Temporary Service Inc. promised that it conducted "comprehensive background and reference checks on all employees" and strongly recommended the woman for an open job, according to the lawsuit filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court. But the woman misrepresented her former employment, did not report the bankruptcies that stemmed from credit card abuse and did not reveal her retail theft conviction, the lawsuit alleges. The agency not only did not conduct the background check, but also did not interview the woman after she filled out her application, the lawsuit alleges.

Discrimination Lawsuit Shot Down

Source: Karen Madden, Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune
Date: August 18, 2003

A lawsuit filed against former Adams County Sheriff Larry Warren by a former employee has been dismissed from federal court. Jacqueline A. Jones filed the lawsuit because she believes officials discriminated against her because her husband is black. The case had been scheduled to go to trial last Monday. Attorneys for two sides did not return phone calls requesting information about whether the dismissal was due to a settlement. The Adams County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet in closed session Tuesday night to confer with lawyers regarding undisclosed litigation.

Supercuts Agrees to Settle Racial Bias Case for $3.5 Million

Source: D.E. L?Ger, Miami Herald
Date: August 14, 2003

A former Supercuts manager, who complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about a plan to reduce the number of black employees at the hair salon chain, paved the way for a $3.5 million settlement announced Wednesday. Richard Quick, of Melbourne, was a regional manager in charge of 76 Supercuts stores in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Puerto Rico when he balked at a Supercuts directive ''to balance the platform'' by trimming the number of black workers employed by the Minneapolis-based chain and was fired, the EEOC said.

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