Proposed Revisions to Wisconsin Employment Laws Removed from Wisconsin Budget Bill

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Reinhart previously reported on proposed revisions to Wisconsin employment laws in "Governor Walker's Budget Could Affect Wisconsin Employment Laws." Those changes included the creation of a statutory settlement procedure for claims filed under certain Wisconsin employment statutes and elimination of the Labor and Industry Review Commission ("LIRC"). If enacted, these changes would have offered powerful incentives for employers and employees to make and accept reasonable settlement offers and eliminate a layer of administrative review from employment discrimination, worker's compensation, and unemployment claims.

However, these proposed revisions are less likely to take effect now that the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance (the "Committee") has struck them from Governor Scott Walker's 2017-19 Executive Budget Bill (the "Bill").

On April 6, 2017, the Committee struck the proposed statutory settlement procedure from the Bill and recommended that it, along with 82 other "non-fiscal" policy items, "be considered as non-budget legislation by other sanding committees" and "drafted as individual bills for introduction into the Legislature."

On May 18, 2017, the Committee voted to preserve LIRC, but eliminate 7.8 vacant LIRC positions. The Committee also requested that the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court conduct a review of LIRC decisions to determine whether LIRC is necessary to preserve equal rights and safety.

Although permanently blocked from reincorporation into the Bill, portions of Governor Walker's proposed revisions to Wisconsin employment laws may be reintroduced and passed as stand-alone legislation. Reinhart is monitoring this matter closely and will publish updates as additional information becomes available. If you have any questions about the status of these proposed revisions to Wisconsin employment laws, please contact Rob Driscoll or your Reinhart attorney.


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