P O BOX 8126, MADISON, WI 53708-8126 (608/266-9850)

JEFFREY A DeGROOT, Complainant



ERD Case No. 199903362

An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development issued a decision in this matter. A timely petition for review was filed.

The commission has considered the petition and the positions of the parties, and it has reviewed the evidence submitted to the ALJ. Based on its review, the commission agrees with the decision of the ALJ, and it adopts the findings and conclusion in that decision as its own.


The decision of the administrative law judge (copy attached) is affirmed.

Dated and mailed July 17, 2000
degroje.rsd : 125 : 9

/s/ David B. Falstad, Chairman

/s/ Pamela I. Anderson, Commissioner

/s/ James A. Rutkowski, Commissioner


The complainant, Jeffrey DeGroot, appeals from the ALJ's dismissal of his complaint for failure to state a claim under Wis. Stats. 16.009(5), 46.90(4) or 50.07(3). Those statute sections are contained within statutory provisions relating to long-term care facilities, to elder abuse and other care and service residential facilities, and affords persons protection against being discharged or otherwise retaliated or discriminated against "for contacting, providing information to or otherwise cooperating with any representative of the board (on aging and long-term care),"  "for reporting in good faith to the county agency or to any state official, including any representative of the office of the long- term care ombudsman.that he or she believes that abuse, material abuse or neglect has occurred."  and  "for contacting or providing information to any state official, including any representative of the office of the long-term care ombudsman.or for initiating, participating in, or testifying in an action for any remedy authorized under (subchapter 1 of Wis. Stat. ch. 50)."

As noted by the ALJ, "The single common thread through all of these statutory provisions is that the protected report must be made before the alleged discriminatory or retaliatory conduct takes place in order for the protections of the statutes to be in effect." (Underlining emphasis in original) DeGroot's complaint alleges that on August 16, 1999, he was fired by the respondents, that on or about August 19, 1999, he was reported to the Board of Quality Assurance for alleged negligence, that on August 19, 1999, a petition for a temporary restraining order was issued against him, and that on August 20, 1999, he reported suspected patient abuse to the district attorney and to the state ombudsman. DeGroot has not alleged that he contacted, provided information to or cooperated with any representative of the board on long-term care, that he reported suspected abuse to the county agency or any state official, or that he had initiated, participated in or testified in an action for any remedy under ch. 50 before the discriminatory or retaliatory conduct complained of had occurred. Accordingly, DeGroot has failed to state a claim under Wis. Stats. 16.009(5), 46.90(4) or 50.07(3).

In his petition DeGroot makes several claims, "suggestions" and "requests," most of which have no bearing on the question of whether the ALJ properly dismissed his complaint on the ground that it fails to state a claim under any of the above-named statutes. One claim that DeGroot appears to suggest, however, is that there was improper conduct on the part of counsel for the respondent. But DeGroot has not specified the nature of this alleged improper conduct nor is it apparent from a review of this matter. Similarly, DeGroot also questions whether the ALJ had been "influenced" by any "telephone conversations". Again, however, the review of this matter leaves no reason to believe that the ALJ decided this case on any basis other than the record evidence before him.

Finally, DeGroot apparently argues that he had also requested the division to consider a claim that he was discriminated against on the basis of age. However, a review of the case file shows that by letter dated December 17, 1999, the division had advised DeGroot that a claim of age discrimination was covered by a separate law and enclosed a complaint form for him to complete if he was interested in filing an age discrimination claim. No complaint alleging age discrimination exists in the case file, nor is there any indication that DeGroot ever attempted to pursue a claim of age after December 17, 1999.

cc: Craig T. Maxwell

[ Search ER Decisions ] - [ ER Decision Digest ] - [ ER Legal Resources ] - [ LIRC Home Page ]