Changes To The Contract
Most employment relationships are “at-will” and in these cases employers are free to prospectively alter the terms and conditions of the employment relationship.
Change In Ownership Of The Business
There are no specific rules that apply or specific steps that need to be followed in the event of a change of ownership in a business. If only the assets of a business are sold, as opposed to its stock, employees do not necessarily retain their employment. Rather, whether to continue employment in an asset transaction is within the new owner’s control.
Social Security Contributions
Federal law provides for compulsory social security contributions from both the employer and the employee in the form of taxes paid by both the employer and employee, with the employee’s half withheld from the employee’s wages.
Accidents At Work
Workers’ compensation law may apply if the employee is injured while at work. Other laws may also apply to the employer’s treatment of an employee as a result of the injury, including disability laws and access to leave.
Discipline And Grievance
Unless a collective bargaining agreement or a specific contract provision applies, state and federal law do not govern discipline or grievance procedures.
The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) prohibits discrimination based on age, race, creed, religious observance or practice, colour, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, arrest record, conviction record, military service (including membership in the National Guard, state defence force or any reserve component of the military forces of the United States or Wisconsin), the use or non-use of lawful products off the employer’s premises during non-working hours, or declining to participate or participating in any communication about religious or political matters. Additionally, employees may not be terminated based on the results of any lie detector or genetic test. Retaliation for exercising rights under the WFEA is forbidden.
Sex discrimination includes discrimination against a woman on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, maternity leave or related medical conditions, and includes discriminatory actions concerning fringe benefit programs covering illnesses and disability. Sexual discrimination also includes sexual harassment, which is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favours, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature or unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”
Compulsory Training Obligations
There are no rules relating to compulsory training obligations.
Employers generally may not make deductions from wages except as authorized by statute. For example, an employer may not withhold or otherwise deduct funds from an employee’s final pay for faulty workmanship or lost, stolen, or damaged property, without the employee’s written consent.
Payments For Maternity And Disability Leave
There are no statutory requirements for an employer to provide an employee with paid maternity or disability leave.
Wisconsin law does not require an employer to offer health insurance benefits to its employees, although coverage must be offered to all “eligible employees” and their dependents if an employer purchases a group health benefit plan from an insurer. Most employers must participate in state-administered insurance plans for work-related injuries and for unemployment.
Absence For Military Or Public Service Duties
Federal law provides that employers must allow employees to take leave where an employee is a specific military service member. In certain circumstances leave should also be afforded to employees whose, family member(s) is required to go on military service. Employees who are required to care of someone who has been injured as a result of military service should be afforded leave. Wisconsin law also provides leave for jury duty, court appearances, and voting time under certain circumstances.
Works Councils or Trade Unions
There are no Wisconsin laws relating to works councils or trade unions.
Employees’ Right To Strike
Private workers in Wisconsin generally have the right to strike or take other work-based actions if contract negotiations with an employer reach a stalemate.
Employees On Strike
Under federal law, the employer can hire and employ temporary replacements for striking workers. The employer also has a somewhat more limited right to permanently replace striking workers. Workers cannot, however, be fired because they have been on strike or otherwise engaged in protected concerted activities.
Employers’ Responsibility For Actions Of Their Employees
Employers may be vicariously liable to third parties for acts committed by their employees within the scope of their employment duties. In addition, employers may be directly liable for their own negligence in failing to ascertain an employee’s propensity to inflict injury.