Wisconsin Civil Rights laws & HR compliance analysis

Wisconsin Civil Rights: What you need to know

The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) prohibits employment discrimination because of age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, arrest or conviction record, genetic test results, military service, use or nonuse of lawful products away from the workplace during nonworking hours, or declining to attend a meeting or to participate in any communication about religious or political matters. The WFEA covers employers with one or more employees and includes the state and its political subdivisions (WI Gen. Stat. Sec. 111.31 et seq.).
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Like federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the WFEA prohibits discrimination in hiring, advancement, compensation, or any other condition of employment.
The WFEA also specifically prohibits retaliation against an employee for making a civil rights claim or participating as a witness in a civil rights proceeding. The prohibition includes situations in which an employer believes that an individual engaged in protected activity, regardless of whether the individual actually did so. Additional information on employment actions that may be considered retaliatory is available.
Unfulfilled threats. A U.S. district court in Wisconsin has ruled that threatening to fire an employee can be a form of retaliation even if the threat is not carried out (EEOC v. Chrysler, No. 08-C-1067 (E.D. Wis. 2011)). In this case, a manager threatened to fire two employees in anticipation of the employees filing a sex discrimination claim. The employer argued that the case should be dismissed because the employees never actually suffered any adverse employment action. However, the court noted that an adverse ...

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