Did Wisconsin Punish a Prison Whistleblower in Hopes of Avoiding Civil Liability?
An internal Department of Corrections investigation found evidence that Warden Michael A. Dittmann used slurs against homosexuals, hurled fruit at subordinates who disagreed with him and may have even approved overtime pay for some staffers so others could go to cookouts.
But instead of demoting Dittmann, department officials took action against Scot Galligan, the supervisory corrections officer who reported him.
Galligan was reprimanded, suspended for five months and moved from the day shift at Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution, near his home, to the overnight shift at Dodge Correctional, 25 miles away. His offense: Recording conversations with Dittmann to use as proof.
What’s more, not only did Department of Corrections officials deem Galligan’s formal complaint against Dittmann baseless, they are going after Galligan for court costs and attorneys’ fees because he insists they retaliated against him and refuses to drop his appeal.
Documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel show how some of the state’s top corrections officials turned on Galligan, a veteran supervisor who challenged the system, while apparently allowing a controversial warden to avoid serious discipline for potentially illegal actions.
An employment law expert says Galligan’s fears that Dittmann’s actions could open up the prison system to civil liability are on target. And a state senator questions why government resources are being used to go after the whistleblower rather than focusing on workplace behavior that wouldn’t be tolerated in the private sector.
h/t: The Crime Report