History: 2003 a. 73
; 2005 a. 155
; Stats. 2005 s. 995.12; 2007 a. 156
See also ch. Jus 16
, Wis. adm. code.
January 1, January 15, the 3rd Monday in February (which shall be the day of celebration for February 12 and 22), the last Monday in May (which shall be the day of celebration for May 30), June 19, which shall be the day of observation for Juneteenth Day, July 4, the 1st Monday in September which shall be known as Labor day, the 2nd Monday in October, November 11, the 4th Thursday in November (which shall be the day of celebration for Thanksgiving), December 25, the day of holding the partisan primary election, and the day of holding the general election in November are legal holidays. On Good Friday the period from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. shall uniformly be observed for the purpose of worship. In every 1st class city the day of holding any municipal election is a legal holiday, and in every such city the afternoon of each day upon which a primary election is held for the nomination of candidates for city offices is a half holiday and in counties having a population of 500,000 or more the county board may by ordinance provide that all county employees shall have a half holiday on the day of such primary election and a holiday on the day of such municipal election, and that employees whose duties require that they work on such days be given equivalent time off on other days. Whenever any legal holiday falls on Sunday, the succeeding Monday shall be the legal holiday.
History: 1971 c. 226
; 1973 c. 140
; 1977 c. 187
; Stats. 1977 s. 757.17; 1983 a. 7
; 1983 a. 192
; Stats. 1983 s. 895.20; 2005 a. 155
; Stats. 2005 s. 995.20; 2009 a. 91
; 2011 a. 75
Wisconsin family month, week and Sunday.
The month of November, in which the celebration of Thanksgiving occurs, is designated as Wisconsin Family Month, the first 7 days of that month are designated as Wisconsin Family Week and the first Sunday of that month is designated as Family Sunday. In conjunction therewith, appropriate observances, ceremonies, exercises and activities may be held under state auspices to focus attention on the principles of family responsibility to spouses, children and parents, as well as on the importance of the stability of marriage and the home for our future well-being; and the chief officials of local governments and the people of the state are invited either to join and participate therein or to conduct like observances in their respective localities.
History: 1973 c. 333
; 1977 c. 187
; Stats. 1977 s. 757.171; 1983 a. 192
; Stats. 1983 s. 895.22; 1987 a. 27
; 2005 a. 155
; Stats. 2005 s. 995.22.
Fire Prevention Week. 995.225(1)
The week in October during which October 9 falls is designated Fire Prevention Week and the Saturday at the end of Fire Prevention Week is designated Wisconsin Firefighters Memorial Day. In conjunction with the week, appropriate observances, ceremonies, exercises, and activities may be held under state auspices to do all of the following:
Commemorate 2 of the most devastating fires in U.S. history, both of which started on October 8, 1871, the Peshtigo fire and the Chicago fire.
Study fire safety tips to help avoid home fires.
Recognize that well-trained, dedicated, and well-equipped fire departments are important to all of the residents of this state.
Recognize that thousands of state firefighters, both full-time and volunteer, dedicate themselves to protecting lives and property.
Express the gratitude of the residents of this state for the valuable contributions that firefighters have made to the other residents of this state.
Honor those contributions and memorialize the firefighters of this state who have died while performing their duties.
The chief officials of local governments and the people of the state are invited either to join and participate in the observances, ceremonies, exercises, and activities under sub. (1)
that may be held under state auspices or to conduct similar observances in their respective localities.
History: 2003 a. 56
; 2005 a. 155
; Stats. 2005 s. 995.225; 2011 a. 185
Indian Rights Day.
July 4 is designated as "Indian Rights Day," and in conjunction with the celebration of Independence Day, appropriate exercises or celebrations may be held in commemoration of the granting by congress of home rule and a bill of rights to the American Indians. When July 4 falls on Sunday, exercises or celebrations of Indian Rights Day may be held on either the third or the fifth.
History: 1977 c. 187
; Stats. 1977 s. 757.175; 1983 a. 192
; Stats. 1983 s. 895.23; 2005 a. 155
; Stats. 2005 s. 995.23.
William D. Hoard Day.
October 10 is designated as William D. Hoard Day. Appropriate exercises and celebrations may be held on that day, William D. Hoard's birthday, to honor him and remember him as the 16th governor of Wisconsin and the leading promoter of the dairy industry through his weekly magazine, Hoard's Dairyman.
History: 2009 a. 327
; 2011 a. 260
Ronald W. Reagan Day.
February 6 is designated as Ronald W. Reagan Day. Appropriate exercises and celebrations may be held on that day, his birthday, to honor him and remember him as the 40th President of the United States and a promoter of freedom and democracy throughout the world.
History: 2011 a. 32
Right of privacy. 995.50(1)(1)
The right of privacy is recognized in this state. One whose privacy is unreasonably invaded is entitled to the following relief:
Equitable relief to prevent and restrain such invasion, excluding prior restraint against constitutionally protected communication privately and through the public media;
Compensatory damages based either on plaintiff's loss or defendant's unjust enrichment; and
In this section, "invasion of privacy" means any of the following:
Intrusion upon the privacy of another of a nature highly offensive to a reasonable person, in a place that a reasonable person would consider private or in a manner which is actionable for trespass.
The use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name, portrait or picture of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person or, if the person is a minor, of his or her parent or guardian.
Publicity given to a matter concerning the private life of another, of a kind highly offensive to a reasonable person, if the defendant has acted either unreasonably or recklessly as to whether there was a legitimate public interest in the matter involved, or with actual knowledge that none existed. It is not an invasion of privacy to communicate any information available to the public as a matter of public record.
Conduct that is prohibited under s. 942.09
, regardless of whether there has been a criminal action related to the conduct, and regardless of the outcome of the criminal action, if there has been a criminal action related to the conduct.
The right of privacy recognized in this section shall be interpreted in accordance with the developing common law of privacy, including defenses of absolute and qualified privilege, with due regard for maintaining freedom of communication, privately and through the public media.
Compensatory damages are not limited to damages for pecuniary loss, but shall not be presumed in the absence of proof.
If judgment is entered in favor of the defendant in an action for invasion of privacy, the court shall determine if the action was frivolous. If the court determines that the action was frivolous, it shall award the defendant reasonable fees and costs relating to the defense of the action.
In order to find an action for invasion of privacy to be frivolous under par. (a)
, the court must find either of the following:
The action was commenced in bad faith or for harassment purposes.
The action was devoid of arguable basis in law or equity.
No action for invasion of privacy may be maintained under this section if the claim is based on an act which is permissible under ss. 196.63
History: 1977 c. 176
; 1987 a. 399
; 1991 a. 294
; 2001 a. 33
; 2005 a. 155
; Stats. 2005 s. 995.50.
Commercial misappropriation of a person's name is prohibited by Wisconsin common law. Hirsch v. S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. 90 Wis. 2d 379
, 280 N.W.2d 129
For invasion of privacy under sub. (2)(c), the plaintiff must establish four elements: 1) public disclosure of facts regarding the plaintiff; 2) the facts disclosed are private facts; (3) the private matter made public is one that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities; and 4) the defendant acted unreasonably or recklessly as to whether there was a legitimate public interest in the matter, or with actual knowledge that none existed. Zinda v. Louisiana Pac. Corp., 149 Wis. 2d 913
, 440 N.W.2d 548
, 555 (Wis. 1989).
Oral communication among numerous employees and jail inmates is sufficient to constitute publicity under sub. (2) (c). The plain meaning of "a place" in sub. (2) (a) is geographical and does not include a file of medical records. Hillman v. Columbia County, 164 Wis. 2d 376
, 474 N.W.2d 913
(Ct. App. 1991).
Disclosure of private information to one person or to a small group does not, as a matter of law in all cases, fail to satisfy the publicity element of an invasion of privacy claim. Whether a disclosure satisfies the publicity element of an invasion of privacy claim depends upon the particular facts of the case and the nature of plaintiff's relationship to the audience who received the information. Pachowitz v. LeDoux, 2003 WI App 120
, 265 Wis. 2d 631
, 666 N.W.2d 88
An action for invasion of privacy requires: 1) a public disclosure of facts regarding the plaintiff; 2) the facts disclosed were private; 3) the private matter is one that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities; and 4) the party disclosing the facts acted either unreasonably or recklessly as to whether there was a legitimate public interest in the matter or with actual knowledge that none existed. In order to find public disclosure, the matter must be regarded as substantially certain to become one of public knowledge. Olson v. Red Cedar Clinic, 2004 WI App 102
, 273 Wis. 2d 728
, 681 N.W.2d 306
The recording of sounds emanating from a neighbor's home using a common recording device that was placed inside the defendant's own window was not an intrusion of a nature highly offensive to a reasonable person in violation of sub. (2) (a). Poston v. Burns, 2010 WI App 73
, 325 Wis. 2d 404
, 784 N.W.2d 717
Sub. (2) (a) has a spatial basis — the invasion of privacy must occur in a place that a reasonable person would consider private or in a manner which is actionable for trespass. In this case, the only action that was allegedly taken by the defendant was the distribution of fliers containing information that was already available to the public. That the information may have inspired others to make phone calls, honk horns, or write letters does not mean that the defendant invaded the plaintiff's private space. Keller v. Patterson, 2012 WI App 78
, 343 Wis. 2d 569
, 819 N.W.2d 841
Sub. (2) (c) addresses situations where an individual makes public statements about the private life of another person in a highly offensive way. In order to fall under sub. (2) (c), the statements must make information public that was not previously available to the public. Keller v. Patterson, 2012 WI App 78
, 343 Wis. 2d 569
, 819 N.W.2d 841
The more reasonable interpretation of "use" in sub. (2) (b) is that it does not cover bidding on someone's name as a keyword search term. The holding is limited to the particular "non-visible" type of use at issue in this case. Habush v. Cannon, 2013 WI App 34
, 346 Wis. 2d 709
, 828 N.W.2d 876
The right to privacy law does not affect the duties of custodians of public records under s. 19.21. 68 Atty. Gen. 68.
Surveillance of a school district employee from public streets and highways by the employer school district's agents to determine whether the employee was in violation of the district's residency policy did not violate this section. Munson v. Milwaukee Board of School Directors, 969 F.2d 266
While the Open Records Law and this statute are related laws, they are only related in that a finding under the Open Records Law that a record should be made public would necessarily mean that "the information was available to the public as a matter of public record." This is true because both statutes apply the same common-law balancing test when determining whether a record is public. When a trial court found only that the procedures delineated in the Open Records Law were not followed, those procedures had no impact on the question of whether a record is public under this section; the procedures are merely procedural, not substantive. Hutchins v. Clarke, 661 F.3d 947
A person's religious affiliation, standing alone, is not so private that publication would offend a reasonable person and constitute an invasion of privacy under sub. (2) (c). Briggs & Stratton Corp. v. National Catholic Reporter Publishing Co. 978 F. Supp 1195
The exclusivity provision of the Workers Compensation Act does not bar a claim for invasion of privacy under s. 895.50. Marino v. Arandell Corp. 1 F. Supp. 2d 947
In drafting this section, the legislature used New York's privacy statute as a model. The text of sub. (2) (b) duplicates nearly verbatim New York law so case law under the New York privacy statute may be particularly useful. Bogie v. Rosenberg, 705 F.3d 603
A claim under sub. (2) (a) must show that the alleged intrusion into privacy would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. The question of what kinds of conduct will be regarded as a highly offensive intrusion is largely a matter of social conventions and expectations. The offensiveness of the intrusion itself cannot be based on the content or substance captured by virtue of the alleged intrusion. The fact that the plaintiff was embarrassed to be filmed saying something she regretted having said and later deemed offensive did not convert the filming itself into a highly offensive intrusion. Bogie v. Rosenberg, 705 F.3d 603
Where a matter of legitimate public interest is concerned, no cause of action for invasion of privacy will lie. This newsworthiness or public interest exception should be construed broadly, covering not only descriptions of actual events, but also articles concerning political happenings, social trends, or any subject of public interest. Wisconsin courts have also incorporated the common law exception for incidental use into the statute. Bogie v. Rosenberg, 705 F.3d 603
Court documents are matters of public interest. It follows that if court documents warrant the public interest exception, Internet search providers and indexes that lead the public to those documents or that capture key terms related to them are likewise entitled to that exception. To the extent that a search provider's profit motives undermine the reliance on the public interest argument, the exception applies even when the entities sharing the information do so largely, and even primarily, to make a profit. Stayart v. Google Incorporated, 710 F.3d 719
The absence of false light from the Wisconsin privacy statute. 66 MLR 99 (1982).
The tort of misappropriation of name or likeness under Wisconsin's new privacy law. Endejan, 1978 WLR 1029.
The Case for Reexamining Privacy Law in Wisconsin: Why Wisconsin Courts Should Adopt the Interpretation of the Tort of Intrusion upon Seclusion of Fisher v. Mount Olive Lutheran Church. Infield-Harm. 2004 WLR 1781.
The Scope of Wisconsin's Privacy Statute. Backer. Wis. Law. Sept. 2003.
Employer Liability for Employment References. Mac Kelly. Wis. Law. May 2008.
Domestic abuse services; prohibited disclosures. 995.67(1)(b)
"Domestic abuse services organization" means a nonprofit organization or a public agency that provides any of the following services for victims of domestic abuse:
"Service recipient" means any person who receives or has received domestic abuse services from a domestic abuse services organization.
No employee or agent of a domestic abuse services organization who provides domestic abuse services to a service recipient may intentionally disclose to any person the location of any of the following persons without the informed, written consent of the service recipient:
Any minor child in the care or custody of the service recipient.
Any minor child who accompanies the service recipient when the service recipient receives domestic abuse services.
Any person who violates this subsection may be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days or both.
History: 1991 a. 228
; 2005 a. 155
; Stats. 2005 s. 995.67; 2007 a. 20