Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

February 21, 2011

Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman Introduced Legislation Today to Significantly Weaken Discrimination Lawsuits

Filed under: Grothman,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 5:02 pm

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.


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