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Wisconsin Supreme Court affirms limited scope of Wisconsin Health Care Worker Protection Act

July 24, 2014

Under the Health Care Worker Protection Act (HCWPA), no health care provider or facility may discipline a person for making certain types of reports related to health care. Wis. Stat. § 146.997. In a case decided this week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court dealt with the question of whether unpaid interns are protected by the statute.

Asma Masri was a doctoral student who was working as a “Psychologist Intern” at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Ms. Masri met with an administrator and reported clinical/ethical concerns she had witnessed. Less than a week later, MCW ended Ms. Masri’s internship.

The Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether uncompensated interns are entitled to the protections of the HCWPA. The Court determined, consistent with prior holdings of the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) that unpaid interns are not entitled to protection. The statute only applies to employees.

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