Wisconsin is an “employment-at-will” state. Therefore, an employer may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason, unless a collective bargaining agreement, employment contract, existing law, or recognized public policy provides otherwise.
Despite a strong presumption in favor of the at-will standard, the Wisconsin courts have held that statements and procedures contained in an employee handbook or policy manual may create an employment contract.
For example, the Wisconsin courts have found and enforced an employment contract based on an employee handbook that required employees to sign an acknowledgment form as evidence of their promise to be bound by the handbook's provisions (Ferraro v. Koelsch, 368 N.W.2d 666 (Wis. Sup. Ct. 1985)).