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Be a Donor ... and Qualify for Unpaid Leave: New Wisconsin Law Goes Into Effect Soon

Effective July 1, 2016, Wisconsin law will require covered employers to provide eligible employees with up to 6 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to undergo and recover from bone marrow or organ donation procedures. Previously, only employees of the Wisconsin state government were entitled to leave for such donations.

Several New Worker's Compensation Provisions Favorable to Wisconsin Employers

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law several new employer-friendly 2016 amendments to the state’s Worker’s Compensation Act. In addition to cutting the statute of limitations for traumatic injury claims in half, from 12 years to 6, the amendments also deny benefits to employees under three new provisions added to the law.

How Wisconsin’s Reversal of Decades-Old Ban on Switchblades and Knives Applies to Employers

A new Wisconsin law has repealed the state’s prohibition (which has existed for more than 50 years) on manufacturing, selling, transporting, purchasing, or possessing a switchblade and which subjected violators to $10,000 in fines and nine months in jail.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Weighs in on the Compensability of Pre- and Post-Shift Work

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently helped clarify the circumstances under which pre- and post-shift donning and doffing constitutes compensable work under Wisconsin’s minimum wage and overtime laws.1 The decision, which involved production workers at a plant owned by Hormel Foods Corporation (“Hormel” or "the company"), also appears to narrow the applicability of the federal de minimis rule under state law.

Wisconsin Eases, But Does Not Eliminate, the One Day of Rest in Seven Law

Effective July 14, 2015, Wisconsin has made it easier for an employer to comply with Wisconsin Statute 103.85, Wisconsin’s “one day of rest in seven” requirement. Under this statute, most factory and mercantile employers must provide their employees with at least 24 consecutive hours of rest for every 7 consecutive days worked. These restrictions do not apply to certain categories of workers, including janitors; security personnel; those employed in the manufacture of butter, cheese or other dairy products, or in the distribution of milk or cream; those who work in canneries or freezers; individuals who are employed in bakeries, flour and feed mills, hotels or restaurants; employees whose duties include no work on Sunday other than caring for live animals or maintaining fires; and workers whose labor is required by an emergency situation that could not reasonably have been anticipated.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Continued Employment is Lawful Consideration to Support a Restrictive Covenant

Wisconsin has firmly joined the majority of jurisdictions in the United States that hold that continued employment constitutes lawful consideration sufficient to enforce a restrictive covenant with a current at-will employee. The Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision in Runzheimer International, Ltd. v. Friedlen and Corporate Reimbursement Services, Inc., 2015 WI 45 (Wis. 2015), is a victory for Wisconsin employers and marks the end of years of debate on this issue.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds That Continued Employment Constitutes Adequate Consideration for Restrictive Covenants

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently issued a decision holding that continued employment is adequate consideration for restrictive covenants. In Runzheimer International, Ltd. v. Friedlen, et al., No. 2013AP1392 (April 30, 2015), the state’s highest court held that an employer’s forbearance of its right to terminate an at-will employment relationship can support a restrictive covenant.

Proposed Wisconsin Legislation Would Make It Easier for Employers to Enforce Restrictive Covenants

The Wisconsin legislature may soon dramatically change the law that governs restrictive covenants, making them easier to enforce.

Wisconsin is Really Open for Business: Governor Signs New Right-to-Work Law

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s motto is that Wisconsin is “open for business,” and he means it. On March 9, 2015, Governor Walker signed into law Senate Bill 44, which made Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state in the country. With the surrounding Great Lakes states of Michigan and Indiana already enacting right to work laws (and Iowa already being a right-to-work state), the momentum in Wisconsin was to follow so it would not be at a competitive disadvantage in retaining and attracting new businesses and job growth.

Independent Contractor . . . or Not? DOL and Wisconsin DWD Team Up to Reduce Employee Misclassification

On January 20, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that Wisconsin had become the latest state to join the “Misclassification Initiative,” which is designed to protect the rights of employees “by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other nonemployee statuses.” Wisconsin is the 19th state to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DOL for the purpose of sharing information and coordinating enforcement regarding employee classification. The MOU between the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division and Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development has an initial term of three years.