May 6, 2021

Volume XI, Number 126

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Wisconsin Law Prohibits Local Regulation of Several Employment Issues, Does Not Preempt Discrimination Ordinances

On April 16, 2018, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed an amended version of 2017 Assembly Bill 748, thereby declaring a number of employment issues to be matters of statewide concern and therefore beyond the scope of municipal regulation. Although the bill originally included a provision that would have prohibited local regulation of employment discrimination, that provision was removed by an amendment. As such, municipalities remain free to enact and enforce equal employment opportunity ordinances at the local level like the Madison Equal Opportunities Ordinance and the De Pere Non-Discrimination in Housing, Public Accommodation and Employment Ordinance, both of which remain in effect.

Nevertheless, the law as enacted is still significant as it prohibits local regulation regarding the following:

  • Labor peace agreements (codified in newly-created Wisconsin Statutes (Wis. Stat.) section 66.0134)

  • Occupational licensing requirements more stringent than those imposed by the department of state government that regulates the profession (codified in newly-created Wis. Stat. section 66.0408(2)(d))

  • Employee hour and overtime requirements (codified in newly-created Wisconsin Stat. section 103.007)

  • The terms and conditions of employment benefits, including minimum levels of benefits (codified in newly-created Wis. Stat. section 103.12)

  • The right to solicit salary history information from prospective employees (codified in newly-created Wis. Stat. section 103.36)

  • Wage claims and collections (codified at newly-created Wis. Stat. section 109.09(3))

Effective April 18, 2018, existing local ordinances regulating the foregoing are unenforceable and future local ordinances in those areas are prohibited. This is likely good news for employers concerned with the growing trend of patchwork regulations regarding employment issues.

Although a modified version of the preemption bill became law, the bill to exempt employers covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act from certain provisions of the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act failed to pass.

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© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 127
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About this Author

Keith Kopplin, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
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Keith E. Kopplin’s practice focuses on employment litigation and employment law matters.

Keith strives to find creative and cost-effective solutions to some of the most vexing workplace issues, including Family and Medical Leave Act abuse, incidents of off-the-clock work, and reasonable accommodation requests.  He has given presentations on numerous topics, including the use of social media by employees, Wisconsin’s concealed carry law, employee handbooks, workplace violence, employee privacy, the hiring process, the Wisconsin and federal Family...

414-239-6406
Christopher Johnson, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Milwaukee, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
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Christopher Johnson is a shareholder in the Milwaukee office of Ogletree Deakins.  For more than 25 years, Mr. Johnson has represented and counseled employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination, restrictive covenant and non-compete litigation, employer best practices, family and medical leave issues, workplace safety, and wage and hour disputes.  

Mr. Johnson has extensive litigation experience in all forums, from state and federal courts to administrative agencies and labor arbitrations. He has...

414-239-6417
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