Wisconsin employees may be familiar with whistleblower laws, which protect employees who report wrongdoing within their own company from retaliation. In a recent case, a former employee at Playboy Enterprises recently won a lawsuit against Playboy, who she says was wrongfully fired in violation of a 2002 whistleblower law.
While still employed by Playboy, the woman had also reported suspected fraud to her superiors and told them that she believed that the company was trying to save money by firing employees who had been there for over a decade and who were earning more money than newer employees. The woman had been working for Playboy for 30 years when she was let go. The woman also said that Playboy discriminated against her based on her age; she was 56 when Playboy fired her.
A jury recently found in the woman's favor, ordering Playboy to pay her $6 million for wrongful termination. The jury has yet to rule on punitive damages. Playboy may still choose to appeal the decision.
Employee rights laws are in place across the country to protect individuals from discrimination. In addition to age discrimination and retaliatory actions, employers may also be held liable for damages if they discriminated against them for having a disability or for being in another class of protected persons. An attorney familiar with employment law may be able to help victims of workplace discrimination pursue compensation.
Source: USA Today, "Playboy must pay $6M to fired whistleblower", Evann Gastaldo, March 07, 2014