Governor Walker friends Facebook users, bars employers from trolling employees’ accounts

by Saul C. Glazer

The question of whether employers can require applicants or current employees to divulge social media passwords has been hotly debated both from a legal and a moral standpoint. On April 8, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill protecting nonpublic social media accounts. This bill, which takes effect April 10, prohibits an employer, educational institution, or landlord from:

  1. Requesting an employee, applicant for employment, student, prospective student, tenant, or prospective tenant to grant access to, allow observation of, or disclose information that allows access to or observation of the personal Internet account of the employee, applicant, student, prospective student, tenant, or prospective tenant; and
  2. Discharging, expelling, suspending, disciplining, or otherwise penalizing or discriminating against any person for exercising the right to refuse such a request, opposing such a practice, filing a complaint or attempting to enforce that right, or testifying or assisting in any action or proceeding to enforce that right.

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Walker to appeal lower court ruling against Wisconsin law restricting union rights

by Timothy Edwards

In what may likely be a temporary victory for public unions in the state of Wisconsin, a Dane County judge declared that Governor Scott Walker’s restrictions to the collective bargaining rights of specific government employees (Act 10) are unconstitutional. The court’s decision is not the last word on this politically charged topic. The Wisconsin Supreme Court, which has already upheld Act 10 on other grounds, is likely to overrule some, if not all, of the trial court’s decision. The Walker administration will seek to postpone implementation of the trial court’s decision pending an appeal. The Wisconsin Supreme Court will likely take the case before any intermediate review by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

Act 10 includes a number of provisions that curtail — and in some instances eliminate — the right of specific employees to engage in collective bargaining, deduct dues for general employee unions, obtain wage increases over the cost of living, and obtain certification. Act 10 also limits “fair share” dues agreements (an agreement that all members of a bargaining unit pay a proportionate share of the costs of bargaining) to public safety and transit unions. Finally, Act 10 prohibits the city of Milwaukee from making pension fund contributions that represent the employees’ share. These specific provisions are the most controversial provisions in Act 10 and have set the stage for a heated disagreement about the proper role of public-sector unions in the state.

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New ‘Concealed Carry’ Gun Law in Effect in Wisconsin

October 26, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 1 COMMENTS

by Jessica E. Ozalp
Axley Brynelson, LLP

On November 1, most provisions of Wisconsin’s new “concealed carry” gun statute will go into effect. The law, which Governor Scott Walker signed in early July, establishes a licensing process that allows Wisconsinites age 21 and older to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon anywhere except school zones, police stations, penal institutions, courthouses, government offices with screening devices, and areas of airports beyond security checkpoints.

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Wisconsin Bill Would Make It Harder for Felons to Get or Keep School, Prison Jobs

May 10, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

By Saul C. Glazer, Axley Brynelson LLP

The Wisconsin General Assembly has introduced a new bill that would make it permissible for a school (see below for the specific entities covered) to fire or refuse to hire anyone with a felony conviction, regardless of how the felony relates to the employment.

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Ohio Joins Wisconsin, Idaho in Passing Union-Curbing Legislation

March 31, 2011 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

Another state has secured victory in the battle to balance struggling state budgets by restricting collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees. Ohio Governor John Kasich has approved Senate Bill (SB) 5, a bill that is in some ways more restrictive than the highly publicized and protested Wisconsin bill that passed earlier this year.

The bill limits collective bargaining rights for public employees by prohibiting negotiations on health care, sick time, and pension benefits. Public employees would still be permitted to negotiate wages and certain work conditions but would be prohibited from participating in strikes. SB 5 also requires public employees to contribute a higher percentage of their health and pension benefits, reduces the number of vacation days and paid holidays for workers, and eliminates automatic pay increases, instead adopting a system of merit raises and performance pay.

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Wisconsin Budget Bill Takes Tough Stance on Unions, Public Retirement Funds

February 18, 2011 - by: HR Hero 4 COMMENTS

By Troy D. Thompson

On February 11, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker released details of his budget repair bill, a highly publicized measure directed at addressing the state’s budget crisis. Regardless of one’s political bent, there is no question that the bill, if adopted, will significantly change the landscape of public-sector employment in Wisconsin.

The bill takes a tough stance on collective bargaining, public pension funding, and public health insurance. Key union-related provisions of the bill would: read more…

New Wisconsin Electronic Discovery Rules Go Into Effect

January 06, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

by Timothy D. Edwards

On January 1, 2011, new rules for the discovery (pretrial exchange of evidence) of electronically stored information went into effect in Wisconsin.

One of the most significant changes is a “meet-and-confer” provision requiring the parties to address issues pertaining to electronically stored information early in the litigation. Back in April 2010, the Wisconsin Judicial Council struggled with this issue, but in the end, a slim (4-3) majority concluded that the mandatory meet-and-confer provision would save time and expedite the litigation.

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Compensatory, Punitive Damages for Wisconsion Discrimination Claims

June 09, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Governor Doyle recently signed Senate Bill 20, which drastically changes discrimination claims under Wisconsin law. Previously, discrimination claims based under Wisconsin law were processed by the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development (ERD). The only remedies available were back pay, attorneys’ fees, and reinstatement (or front pay in some instances).

Under the new law, employees can sue employers in state court for compensatory and punitive damages up to $300,000 if the employer has more than 500 employees. The compensatory and punitive damage claims don’t apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees. For employers with 15 to 100 employees, the compensatory/punitive damage cap is $50,000. For employers with 100 to 200 employees, the cap is $100,000. For employers with 200 to 500 employees, the cap is $200,000.

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Categories: FMLA / HR Hero Alerts / Wisconsin

Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission Adopts Draft of Paid Sick Leave Rules

April 13, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On April 1, 2009, the Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission (ERC) adopted a draft of the City of Milwaukee Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Administrative Rules. These rules establish the standards and procedures the ERC will use for both the implementation and the enforcement of the ordinance by the ERC should the current legal challenge to the ordinance by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce fail.

As a result of the filing of this legal challenge, there is a temporary injunction in place prohibiting the city of Milwaukee from implementing the ordinance. It appears the city is proceeding on creating and approving the administrative rules as required under the ordinance so that they will be in place should the legal challenge fail or the injunction be lifted.

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Lawsuit Challenges Milwaukee Paid Leave Ordinance

December 23, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On Monday, Dec. 22, 2008, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce (MMAC) filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court asking the court to find that the Milwaukee Sick Leave Ordinance, passed through referendum in November and set for enforcement beginning in February, is invalid and unenforceable.

The MMAC is also requesting that the court grant its request for a temporary and permanent injunction prohibiting the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin from enforcing the ordinance. A hearing on this injunction request is set for January 29, 2009.

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Categories: Wisconsin

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