2011 - 2012 LEGISLATURE
September 29, 2011 - Introduced by Representatives Litjens, LeMahieu,
Pridemore, Thiesfeldt, Honadel, Brooks, Knodl, Kleefisch, T. Larson,
Kooyenga, Rivard, Kapenga, Steineke, Severson, Petersen, Stroebel, Vos,
Knilans, Craig, A. Ott, Kaufert, Tauchen, Bies, Kuglitsch, Endsley and
Strachota, cosponsored by Senators Grothman, Galloway, Darling, Lasee,
Kedzie, Zipperer and
Moulton. Referred to Committee on Judiciary and
1An Act to repeal
111.39 (5) (d), 111.397 and 893.995; and to amend
111.39 (4) 2
(d) and 814.04 (intro.) of the statutes; relating to: elimination of compensatory
3and punitive damages for acts of employment discrimination or unfair honesty
4or genetic testing.
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.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB289, s. 1
111.39 (4) (d) of the statutes is amended to read:
(d) The department shall serve a certified copy of the findings and 3
order on the respondent, the order to have the same force as other orders of the 4
department and be enforced as provided in s. 103.005. Any person aggrieved by 5
noncompliance with the order may have the order enforced specifically by suit in 6
equity. If the examiner finds that the respondent has not engaged in discrimination, 7
unfair honesty testing, or unfair genetic testing as alleged in the complaint, the 8
department shall serve a certified copy of the examiner's findings on the 9
complainant, together with an order dismissing the complaint. If the examiner finds
10that the respondent has engaged in discrimination, unfair honesty testing, or unfair
11genetic testing as alleged in the complaint, the department shall serve a certified
12copy of the examiner's findings on the complainant, together with a notice advising
13the complainant that after the completion of all administrative proceedings under
14this section he or she may bring an action as provided in s. 111.397 (1) (a) to recover
15compensatory and punitive damages as provided in s. 111.397 (2) (a) and advising the
1complainant of the time under s. 111.397 (1) (b) within which the action must be
2commenced or be barred.
AB289, s. 2
111.39 (5) (d) of the statutes is repealed.
AB289, s. 3
111.397 of the statutes is repealed.
7814.04 Items of costs.
(intro.) Except as provided in ss. 93.20, 100.195 (5m) 8
(b), 100.30 (5m), 106.50 (6) (i) and (6m) (a), 111.397 (2) (a),
115.80 (9), 281.36 (2) (b) 9
1., 767.553 (4) (d), 769.313, 802.05, 814.245, 895.035 (4), 895.044, 895.443 (3), 10
895.444 (2), 895.445 (3), 895.446 (3), 895.506, 943.212 (2) (b), 943.245 (2) (d), 943.51 11
(2) (b), and 995.10 (3), when allowed costs shall be as follows:
AB289, s. 5
893.995 of the statutes is repealed.
(1) Elimination of employment discrimination damages.
This act first applies 15
to an administrative proceeding under section 111.39 of the statutes concerning a 16
violation of section 111.321, 111.37, or 111.372 of the statutes in which a copy of the 17
final decision under section 111.39 (4) (d) or (5) (d) of the statutes is mailed to the 18
last-known address of the complainant on the effective date of this subsection.