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Professionally Speaking-Strang Patteson June 2018

Statewide Uniformity – Employment Law Matters

by Tony Renning of  Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy  920.420.7527

Wisconsin has, for some time, preempted local governmental units (e.g., counties, cities, villages, towns, etc.) from establishing local minimum wages and imposing paid leave mandates on employers. 2017 Wisconsin Act 327 (effective April 18, 2018) specifies additional areas of employment law for which statewide uniformity applies and for which local regulation is preempted. The intent behind the Act is to establish uniform employment law standards across Wisconsin (as opposed to standards that vary depending upon the local governmental unit exercising jurisdiction).

Under the Act, a local governmental unit may not:

1. Use an ordinance, policy, regulation, contract, zoning, permitting, licensing or any other condition to require a person to accept provisions of a collective bargaining agreement or to waive rights under state or federal labor relations laws (no mandatory “labor peace” agreements).

2. Use an ordinance to regulate hours of labor or overtime, including shift schedules (no “fair scheduling” ordinances).

3. Use an ordinance to require an employer to provide certain employment benefits, including retirement, pension, profit sharing, insurance or leave benefits.

4. Use an ordinance to prohibit an employer from requesting the salary history of a prospective employee.

5. Use an ordinance to require a minimum wage for employees under contractual service to the local governmental unit or employees performing work that is funded by financial assistance from the local governmental unit.

6. Use an ordinance to regulate wage claims or collections.

Additionally, the Act specifies that a local governmental unit may not impose any occupational licensing requirements on an individual that are more stringent than those imposed for the profession by the State of Wisconsin.

As originally proposed, 2017 Wisconsin Act 327 would have also prohibited local governmental units from adopting employment discrimination provisions providing greater protections than those provided by the State of Wisconsin. However, the Act was ultimately amended to remove this language, allowing local governmental units the ability to adopt and/or retain such provisions (e.g., the City of Madison’s Equal Opportunity Ordinance).

For advice and counsel concerning employment law matters and, specifically, the preemption of local regulation imposed by 2017 Wisconsin Act 327, contact Tony Renning at (920) 420-7527 or trenning@strangpatteson.com.

Tony Renning is a founding shareholder with Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c. This article is intended to provide information only, not legal advice. For advice regarding a particular labor or employment situation, please contact the attorneys at Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c.