On May 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision in Wisconsin Legislature v. Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm, et al. and declared the state’s Safer at Home Order unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable, creating a rush by local jurisdictions to issue orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19, resulting in uncertainty
Articles About Wisconsin Labor And Employment Law.
Last month, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order No.
On May 8, 2020, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) published a series of general and industry-specific guidelines to assist businesses with reopening under Governor Tony Evers’s “Badger Bounce Back” plan. Guidelines are available for many industries, including agriculture, construction, entertainment/amusement, gym and fitness centers, hair and nail salons, hospitality/lodging,
The unprecedented economic conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced many Wisconsin employers to implement layoffs, partial furloughs, pay reductions and other painful employment actions. With uncertainty surrounding the eventual reopening of businesses, other Wisconsin employers are starting to consider the same possibilities. Wisconsin very recently took dramatic legislative action via 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 to help workers and employers during this trying time.
On April 15, 2020, the Wisconsin Senate convened for its first-ever virtual session to pass a COVID-19 relief package. Governor Tony Evers signed the bill moments later. The law does not include many of the employment-related provisions members of both political parties recently proposed, but the legislature could quickly reconvene and revisit those proposals. As Wisconsin employers know, the legislative and regulatory environment remains very dynamic. Below we summarize how 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 (Act 185) changes five key employment matters.
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and a significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers has issued Emergency Order # 12 to limit Wisconsinites’ activities. This is in addition to previous orders banning mass gatherings.
Reversing a decision of the lower appellate court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has held that state law does not require employers to pay employees for routine commute time driving company-provided vehicles between the employees’ homes and their assigned jobsites.
Within his first few months of taking office, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has signaled a strong and clear focus on employers that have misclassified workers as independent contractors. On April 15, 2019, Governor Evers issued Executive Order 20 (EO), creating a joint task force of leaders from key state agencies, including the state’s Attorney General’s office, the Department of Revenue (DOR), and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), with representation from the Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights and Workers’ Compensation divisions.
Wisconsin employers reviewing Governor Tony Evers’ very first budget proposal may be surprised by the number of the employment-related items. The substance of those proposals may also catch employers by surprise, with some observers viewing the Evers budget as an effort to erase the employer-friendly legacy of the former governor, Scott Walker. Presented to the state legislature on February 28, 2019, the Evers budget proposes more than a return to the pre-Walker era, however. If the new governor’s budget proposal is an indication of his legislative and enforcement priorities, Wisconsin employers should closely consider its specifics.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently reversed its nearly half-century practice of deferring to state administrative agencies’ interpretations of the laws the agencies are responsible for enforcing. Based on the decision in Tetra Tech EC, Inc. v. DOR,1 Wisconsin courts need now only consider the agency interpretations’ persuasive value, but give them no deference. This shift likely will permit affected parties to more substantively challenge agencies’ interpretations of law in the state court system.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently overturned a longstanding line of cases that allowed disabled employees to prevail in discrimination cases without proving the employer intended to discriminate or was even aware that the employee was disabled. On June 26, 2018, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Wisconsin Bell, Inc. v. Labor and Industry Review Commission and Charles Carlson (Carlson).1 The case involves the Labor and Industry Review Commission’s (“LIRC”) expansive definition of what it means to discriminate against employees “because of” a disability under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (“WFEA”).
Joining more than two dozen other states that have barred local enactment of minimum wage or other employment laws, on March 22, 2018 the Wisconsin legislature passed Assembly Bill 748, intended to promote statewide uniformity in the regulation of employment practices. AB 748 prevents local governments and municipalities from enacting and enforcing their own ordinances relating to various employment matters, including several areas pertaining to wage and hour law. Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the Bill into law in the near future.
In recent years, cities, counties, and other local government bodies across the country have enacted ordinances increasing the minimum wage, granting paid and unpaid sick leave, placing restrictions on how employees are scheduled, and requiring employers to enter into “labor peace agreements” with unions. As this activity has intensified, employers with operations in multiple jurisdictions within a state or across multiple states have been confronted with the onerous task of complying with a patchwork of conflicting employment rules. Wisconsin is about to join the list of over a dozen states that have taken action to preempt local governments from passing such ordinances.
On January 19, 2018, a divided Wisconsin Supreme Court held that an employee non-solicitation covenant was overly broad and unenforceable under state law. In the decision, entitled The Manitowoc Company, Inc. v. Lanning, Case No. 2015AP1530 (Wisc. Jan. 19, 2018), the Court confirmed Wisconsin Statute §103.465, which governs covenants not to compete, extends to agreements not to solicit employees. Because the employee non-solicitation covenant did not meet the statutory criteria for valid non-competes, the Court held it unenforceable in its entirety, “even as to any part of the covenant that would be a reasonable restraint.”
In Wisconsin, post-employment restrictive covenants are governed by Wis. Stat. § 103.465, requiring that any restrictive covenant be reasonable to be enforceable.1