The Wisconsin State Assembly has voted to make Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state in the country.
Articles Discussing General Topics In Wisconsin Labor & Employment Law.
On March 6, 2015, Wisconsin’s State Assembly approved legislation that will make Wisconsin the 25th “Right to Work” state in the country. Governor Walker has said he intends to sign 2015 Assembly Bill 61 into law within days. The legislation significantly modifies Chapter 111 of the Wisconsin Statutes by, among other things, prohibiting employers and labor organizations from requiring employees to join, remain a member of, or financially support a labor organization as a condition of employment. Violation of the law will be a Class A misdemeanor. A brief summary of the key points follows.
A Wisconsin court of appeals was not swayed by a recent argument that an employer did not violate the Wisconsin FMLA when the employer terminated an employee returning from medical leave for lacking work authorization. In Burlington Graphic Systems, Inc. v. Department of Workforce Development, Appeal No. 2014AP762, an undocumented employee, Karen Alvarez, of Burlington Graphic Systems took one week of leave after surgery. When Alvarez returned to work, the company terminated her employment for unexcused absences. The employee then filed a complaint against the company with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The Department found probable cause that the Wisconsin FMLA had been violated and set a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The company rehired the employee prior to the hearing, and required her to complete a Form I-9 as a new hire. Alvarez could not produce documents proving she was authorized to work so Burlington, as a result the company terminated her employment.
The Midwest Employer Spring 2014
Adopting restrictions on employers’ ability to access the social media accounts of employees and job applicants, Wisconsin has joined 12 other states with similar restrictions.
Wisconsin has become the thirteenth state to enact a law limiting the circumstances under which employers may request or require access to the personal internet accounts of applicants and employees. The 2013 Wisconsin Act 208,1 which amends the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) and will be enforced by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), prohibits employers from “requesting or requiring” employees and applicants to provide “access information” for their “personal Internet account” or “to otherwise grant access to or allow observation of that account.” A “personal Internet account” is any “Internet-based account that is created and used by [an employee or applicant] exclusively for purposes of personal communications.” “Access information” means the “password or any other security information” that protects access to a personal Internet account. Access information does not include an employee’s personal e-mail address; the Act expressly permits employers to require employees to disclose that information. In addition to prohibiting these requests for access information and access, the new law, as a general rule, prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against (e.g., discharging or refusing to hire) an employee or applicant who exercises their rights under the law.
While some states are clamoring for stricter laws concerning mandatory influenza vaccinations, some lawmakers in Wisconsin have taken the opposite approach. A public hearing was held on November 13, 2013 regarding Assembly Bill 247, which would prohibit Wisconsin employers – including healthcare employers – from demoting, suspending, firing or discriminating against employees who refuse a seasonal influenza vaccination. The bill would also prohibit employers from…
A measure that provides specific guidance on the use of seclusion and physical restraint of pupils in Wisconsinâ€™s public schools has been signed into law by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Under the new law, which takes effect on September 1, 2012, the use of seclusion or physical restraint is prohibited, unless the childâ€™s behavior presents a â€œclear, present, and imminent risk to the physical safety of the pupil or others.â€ In addition, such measures must represent the â€œleast restrictiveâ€ intervention and may last only as long as reasonably necessary to resolve the problem.
A bill has been passed by both houses of the Wisconsin legislature that would repeal the right of successful complainants to receive an award of compensatory and punitive damages in circuit court under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. Senate Bill 202, introduced September 27, 2011, was passed by the Senate on November 3, 2011, on a straight party-line vote of 17-16. The bill was passed by the Assembly on February 21, 2012, by a vote of 60-35. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill.
On February 21, 2012, the Wisconsin Assembly passed legislation that would eliminate compensatory and punitive damage awards as potential remedies for violations of the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA). The bill passed the Senate in November 2011 and is expected to be signed by Republican Governor Scott Walker. The law would repeal 2009 legislation, which provided for compensatory and punitive damages under a capped scheme similar to Title VII.
A bill has been introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly that would add â€œcredit historyâ€ to the list of classes protected from discrimination under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. Assembly Bill 350 was introduced on October 31, 2011. This development follows the introduction of a bill addressing arrest and conviction record discrimination in Wisconsin. (See our article, Wisconsin Employment Law Watch: Legislature to Consider Conviction Record Discrimination Bill.)
A bill has been introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly that would repeal the right of successful complainants to receive an award of compensatory and punitive damages in circuit court under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. Assembly Bill 289 was introduced on September 29, 2011.
Wisconsin employers that hire employees not legally authorized to work in the United States may risk tough new penalties should Senate Bill 137 become law. The bill, in its current form, does not distinguish between employment of an unauthorized person that is intentional or unintentional. Another bill under consideration, Senate Bill 151, on the other hand, would allow employers to pay their employees for making a customer or client referral. Currently, an employee who receives such payment may be prosecuted under Wisconsinâ€™s gambling statute for a Class B misdemeanor. We discuss the bills below.
Wisconsin will join the 48 other states that allow individuals to carry concealed firearms and other weapons in most places when Governor Scott Walker signs SB93 on July 8, 2011. â€œWeaponsâ€ include handguns, electronic tasers, billyclubs, and knives. If a permit is required, such as for a gun, the permit holder must have gone through training.