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What Evers’ Executive Order #94 really means for employers

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, Governor Evers addressed Wisconsin in a highly anticipated press conference concerning the state government’s latest efforts to curb the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Leading up to the address, rumor was Evers would announce state mandates impacting individuals, schools and businesses. Instead, he announced Executive Order #94, Relating to Actions Every Wisconsinite Should Take to Protect their Family, Friends, and Neighbors from COVID-19 (Order #94).

Three Key Takeaways from Order #94

Order #94 calls for unity and working together in an advisory capacity. As an employer, here is what you need to know:

1. No mandates

Order #94 does not contain mandates on employers, new or old. Rather, Order #94 highly encourages employers to follow a list of suggestions on how they can help stop the spread of COVID-19 to their employees, customers and their communities.

2. No government penalties or enforcement concerns

Order #94 is not a mandate and does not include a penalty or enforcement provision. However, employers should be prepared to address concerns from employees, clients and customers regarding their response to Order #94.

3. Some health departments are making statements based on Order #94

Some local health departments have issued statements related to Order #94. Public Health Madison & Dane County is one example and more may follow suit. As always, maintain awareness of and incorporate any county- or city-wide requirements issued by authorities.

What Should Employers Do Now? 

While no mandates exist for employers in Order #94, employees may have questions regarding Order #94’s suggestions or otherwise inquire about policies and procedures as Wisconsin experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases.

To be ready for this inquiry, employers should:

  1. Consult their local health department’s COVID-19 resource page to determine if there are any updates in response to Order #94

  2. Review and update their business’ COVID-19 response plan and protocols to incorporate updated guidance, as applicable

  3. Prepare talking points to explain the employer’s response to Order #94 and reiterate existing policies and/or new procedures implemented in response to Order #94

Copyright © 2021 Godfrey & Kahn S.C.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 317

About this Author

Margaret Kurlinski, Labor & Employment Attorney with Godfrey Kahn

Meg Kurlinski is an associate member of Godfrey & Kahn's Labor and Employment Practice Group. Meg assists clients with a variety of labor and employment matters, including the management of day-to-day employment matters, drafting and enforcing restrictive covenant agreements, administering family and medical leave laws, litigating federal and state discrimination claims, conducting unlawful harassment investigations, and drafting affirmative action plans.

Christine McLaughlin, Labor Attorney, Godfrey Kahn Law Firm

Christine Liu McLaughlin is a shareholder and chair of the Labor & Employment Law Practice Group in the Milwaukee office. Christine also is the immediate-past chair of the firm's Women's Leadership Forum and chair of the Diversity Committee.

Christine provides counsel on a wide variety of employment and labor issues ranging from interpretation and application of federal and state employment laws to specialized employee transition matters in complex business transactions.

Christine advises her clients on general...