Wisconsin Aliens and Immigration laws & HR compliance analysis

Wisconsin Aliens and Immigration: What you need to know

The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act prohibits discrimination of employment based on national origin (WI Stat. Sec. 111.31 et seq.).
Employment practices that affect immigrants who are legally eligible to work may constitute discrimination based on the basis of national origin. For example, citizenship requirements that are made a condition of employment discriminate on the basis of national origin in violation of the state law. Inquiries about a person's citizenship or country of birth are also unlawful and imply discrimination based on the basis of national origin. The Act applies to all employers.
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The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act is enforced by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Equal Rights Division, which has the authority to receive, investigate, and conciliate discrimination complaints; adopt rules; and issue subpoenas and administrative decisions. The decisions of the Department may be appealed to the Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission or enforced in state court. Damages for discrimination include lost wages, interest on lost wages, reinstatement, attorney's fees, and costs. Additional relief for damages such as humiliation and emotional pain or for punitive damages may be awarded only if a case is filed in federal court.
For additional information, visit dwd.wisconsin.gov.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers to verify the legal status and right to work of all new hires. To satisfy verification requirements, employers should ask all new hires for documents establishing both identity and work authorization.
Please see the Immigration topical analysis for additional discussion.
The federal IRCA and all subsequent amendments regulate the employment status of immigrants.

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