TO: All Legislators
FROM: State Senator Glenn Grothman
DATE: February 21, 2011
DEADLINE: Tuesday, March 1
RE: Co-Sponsorship of LRB 0322: protecting Wisconsin businesses from frivolous discrimination lawsuits
2009 Act 20 created a lengthy, complex, and unnecessary new set of procedures that put Wisconsin businesses at greater risk for frivolous lawsuits:
- Federal anti-discrimination laws already allow federal courts to impose punitive damages;
- The procedures established by 2009 Act 20 create a whole new round of litigation, making the process even longer and more expensive;
- This redundant and lengthy state process opens Wisconsin businesses up to expensive and job-killing lawsuits.
Therefore, I am introducing lrb 0322, repealing these provisions.
If you are interested in co-sponsoring LRB 0322 please call Lance in Senator Grothman’s office at 266-7513 by Tuesday, March 1, 2011.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under the current fair employment law, a person alleging discrimination in
employment or unfair honesty or genetic testing may file a complaint with the
Department of Workforce Development (DWD) seeking action that will effectuate
the purpose of the fair employment law, including reinstating the employee,
providing back pay, and paying costs and attorney fees. In addition, the fair
employment law permits DWD or a person who has been discriminated against or
subjected to unfair honesty or genetic testing to bring an action in circuit court to
recover compensatory and punitive damages caused by the act of discrimination or
unfair honesty or genetic testing after the completion of all administrative
proceedings before DWD and the Labor and Industry Review Commission
concerning the violation. If the circuit court finds that a defendant has committed
an act of discrimination or unfair honesty or genetic testing, the circuit court must
order the defendant to pay to the person discriminated against compensatory and
punitive damages in an amount that the circuit court finds appropriate, subject to
certain limitations, as follows:
1. If the defendant employs 100 or fewer employees, $50,000.
2. If the defendant employs more than 100 but fewer than 201 employees,
3. If the defendant employs more than 200 but fewer than 501 employees,
4. If the defendant employs more than 500 employees, $300,000.
This bill eliminates the awarding of compensatory and punitive damages to
persons who have been discriminated against in employment or subjected to unfair
honesty or genetic testing. Under the bill, DWD may still award to such a person
back pay, costs, and attorney fees.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.