Saturday, November 13, 2010

Menard's, Department of Veterans Affairs Hit with Discrimination Claims

Two major employers in Wisconsin have found themselves slapped with discrimination suits. A former Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs administrator, Gary Wistrom, was transferred from Union Grove to Madison after producing an affidavit in support of another coworker's ERD complaint and has filed a complaint with the Equal Rights Division claiming retaliation. Wistrom's complaint is just another is another addition to an already troubled agency. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on the complaint:
"The 'reassignment' was unreasonable, improper and not a legitimate WDVA personnel action, but was instead a ruse employed by Secretary Black  . . .  in retaliation for my having opposed the discrimination on the basis of age, race and sex that was evident in the statement of Secretary Black," Wistrom said in his complaint.

Agency spokeswoman Sara Stinski said the agency was aware of the complaint but declined to comment further.

Wistrom's complaint is the agency's latest in a series of personnel problems.

Along with Nitschke's complaint, a former Wisconsin National Guard spokesman has filed a complaint with the state alleging he was unfairly passed over for Stinski's job and accusing Black of pushing older white men out of the agency.

Former agency Secretary John Scocos has filed a lawsuit against the DVA, claiming the agency's board violated a federal law that protects military service members' jobs when it fired him last year, weeks after he returned from serving in Iraq.

Wistrom wrote in his complaint that he is a 61-year-old, white, retired U.S. Air Force colonel who suffers from multiple medical ailments that arose from his military service and make extended travel impossible for him.
Also in hot water is Menard's after longtime vice president of real estate, Marvin Prochaska, 62, sued the home-improvement retailer this week, alleging age discrimination. Prochaska has filed suit in federal court. Also from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that has picked this story up:
In his complaint, Prochaska said he received a $100,000 raise in 2007 and that in October 2008 Menard's chief operating officer acknowledged he "had chosen 200 excellent store sites in his career, and that if he was a baseball player, his batting average would have placed him in the Hall of Fame."

"It's the longstanding policy and practice of Menards not to discriminate," company spokesman Jeff Abbott said in an e-mail. "We cannot comment on pending litigation but appreciate the opportunity to clear the air and feel that we will be vindicated."

Prochaska's complaint follows a successful gender-discrimination lawsuit against Menard by the firm's former chief legal counsel, Dawn M. Sands.

Sands, who was fired in March 2006, won a $1.6 million judgment in her case - including $900,000 in punitive damages - as well as an order that she be reinstated.

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