Currently, 17 states have laws regarding what an employer can see on an employee's social media page by banning employers from asking for their employees' passwords and login information. Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Louisiana passed employee rights legislation of this nature in 2014. Additionally, Maine lawmakers voted that the restrictions should be studied. More than 20 other states are considering similar legislation.
Although most Americans believe that it is illegal to fire someone on the basis of sexual orientation, only 21 states, including Wisconsin, have made it illegal for employers to do so. Even in some states where employees cannot be fired on that basis, some small businesses are exempt. In some cases, a company may need to have 15 or more employees before that rule takes effect.
Many times employers will believe they have the upper hand in the workplace over their subordinate employees, which could lead to abuse or wrongdoing. This is why there are employment laws designed to protect employee rights in the workplace in Wisconsin and other states. One of the most important laws is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
In today's economy, many workers are concerned about job security. However, when an illness arises in a family, a worker can be forced to take unpaid leave leaving them concerned about having a job to return to. A recent article published about unpaid leave and the need for changes in the system could be relevant for Wisconsin workers in a similar situation.
Some Wisconsin residents might not be aware that sexual harassment in any form is not only impolite and in poor taste, but it is also very clearly illegal. When it comes to employment, sexual harassment is generally divided into two categories: quid pro quo and hostile environment.
In 1938, the federal government enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act in order to protect workers in Wisconsin and throughout the union from being exploited by their employers. One important provision of this law limits the work week to 40 hours. Workers must be compensated for any hours they work over 40 with time-and-a-half their regular rate of pay. By the mid-1980s, workers in the public sector were given the option of selecting overtime pay or paid time off--meaning they could either take extra wages for their extra hours or bank one and a half vacation hours for every hour over 40 that they work.
Wisconsin football fans know that the Minnesota Vikings released punter Chris Kluwe earlier this week although he had a year left on his contract. While the Vikings' management have claimed that Kluwe was cut so that the team could add a more competitive punter to its roster, a number of people--even the state's governor--have questioned whether the fact that Kluwe has become an outspoken gay rights advocate had anything to do with the decision.
One very important right of workers here in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. is the right to voice workplace safety concerns without the fear of retaliation. Employees need to be able to express their concerns about workplace hazards and safety threats so that the employer, or authorities, can be aware of any issues that may endanger workers or patrons.
Women and minorities recognized Equal Pay Day in Milwaukee on Tuesday by holding a demonstration at the Equal Rights Division, according to a local news report. The group used the occasion to call for the strengthening of existing anti-discrimination employment laws, and State Rep. Chris Sinicki and Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson spoke at the event.
Although it has been illegal for employers to discriminate against workers and applicants with disabilities for more than 20 years in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S., a recent news report suggests that this type of discrimination is still very common. Only 18 percent of Americans with disabilities of working age are currently employed, and this is actually down 2 percent from 2009. According to the Associated Press, these numbers have been relatively stable since the Americans with Disabilities Act outlawed discrimination in employment in 1990.