Wisconsin Racial Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Wisconsin Racial Discrimination: What you need to know

The Wisconsin Fair Employment Law prohibits discrimination in hiring, pay, promotion, training, job assignments, leave, benefits, termination, and any other term and condition of employment because of race or color (WI Stat. Sec. 111.31 et seq.). The law applies to all employers in the state, both public and private, regardless of the number of employees.
Harassment. Harassment based on race or color is unlawful when it interferes with a person's work or creates an offensive and hostile work environment. Harassment may include verbal abuse, epithets and vulgar or derogatory language, the display of offensive cartoons or materials, mimicry, offensive gestures, and telling of jokes offensive to the protected class members.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has ruled that even a single racial epithet may be severe and egregious enough to create a hostile work environment (Cerros v. Steel Techs., Inc., 398 F.3d 944 (7th Cir. 2005)).
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a multi-million-dollar punitive damages award against an employer that failed to promptly and adequately respond to an employee's complaints of racial harassment (May v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 692 F.3d 734 (7th Cir. 2012)). In this case, the employee reported over 70 incidents of harassment during a 3-year period, including written death threats and racist graffiti at the worksite. Calling the employer's response "shockingly thin," the court noted that none of the alleged harassers was ever interviewed, and the employer never installed a surveillance camera despite its suggestion by local police.
Retaliation. The Law also prohibits employers from retaliating against individuals who assert or attempt to assert their rights under ...

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Wisconsin Racial Discrimination Resources

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Policies Nondiscrimination
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