Recently, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 748 that preempts many local and municipal employment laws. The bill was enacted to avoid the possibility of a complex patchwork of regulations across the state, which makes it difficult for businesses to ensure they are following the law.
Wisconsin already has two preemptive employment laws on the books. In 2011, Governor Walker signed a preemptive sick leave law, and in 2005, then Governor Doyle, signed a preemptive law that focused on restricting minimum wage. Both remain in effect to this day.
The new law, that Governor Walker is expected to sign in the coming weeks, will:
- Give employers the right to ask for prospective employees’ salary histories. This is a reversal of a growing trend across the country that is focused on prohibiting salary history questions.
- Not preempt Wisconsin municipalities from passing or enforcing their own discrimination laws. For example, the distinctive employment discrimination prohibitions in the city of Madison’s equal employment ordinance will continue to remain in effect.
- Restrict local governments from creating their own occupational licenses.
- Create statewide uniform regulations for employment hours, overtime, and scheduling.
- Prohibit municipalities from requiring contractors to enter into labor peace agreements with unions.
- Set a statewide standard and prohibit local ordinances regarding wage claims.
In essence, the new law will prohibit local governments from enacting their own employment law restrictions on private employers and, consequently, will standardize employment law across the state of Wisconsin.
Source: Michael Hyatt, HR Government Affairs Director, MRA – The Management Association