Wisconsin Federal & State Employment Law Resources
The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was originally enacted as a tool to prosecute members of the mafia and others engaging in organized crime. Over time, its use has become increasingly widespread and recently, reached the realm of employment law.
The substantive liability provisions Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) are found 18 U.S.C. §§ 1962(a)-(d).
(a), making it unlawful for an individual to use an enterprise to launder money generated by a pattern of racketeering activity, and
(b), making it unlawful for an individual to acquire or maintain an interest in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity,
(c), makes it unlawful for an individual to manipulate an enterprise for purposes of engaging in, concealing, or benefiting from a pattern of racketeering activity, and
(d), is a conspiracy provision making it unlawful for an individual to conspire to violate (a), (b), or (c).
Sections (a) and (b) are generally not helpful in the employment law context; however, sections (c) and (d) potentially are.
Although the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a criminal statute, under 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c), an individual has standing to bring a civil RICO claim if s/he is “injured in his business or property by reason of a violation of section 1962.” The injury suffered must be the direct result of a pattern of racketeering activity. This provision creates the “civil” cause of action and, thus, “Civil RICO.”
Retaliation in the employment context can be attached to a pattern of racketeering activity through a statutorily-connected provision, 18 U.S.C. § 1513(e), which states, “Whoever knowingly, with the intent to retaliate, takes any action harmful to any person, including interference with the lawful employment or livelihood of any person, for providing to a law enforcement officer any truthful information relating to the commission or possible commission of any Federal offense.”
Thus, to prove a Civil RICO claim (essentially a common retaliation claim in a specialized area of the law), an individual must prove that: 1) s/he provided to a law enforcement officer or agency truthful information relating to the commission or possible commission of a federal offense; 2) s/he was retaliated against by having their employment or livelihood interfered with in response to providing the information; and 3) that the retaliation was committed in connection to and furtherance of a pattern of racketeering activity.
View the full text of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
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