There are efforts to repeal Act 20 from the previous legislative session.

Under current law, a person alleging discrimination at work may file a complaint with the Department of Workforce Development and potentially file a lawsuit for punitive and compensatory damages. Senator Dave Hansen authored equal pay legislation in 2009, with the goal that nobody would ever have to use it. “…Because (employers) would treat women, minorities, and seniors and veterans, fairly. That was our goal.”

Senator Glenn Grothman wants to eliminate the awarding of monetary compensation, and authored legislation doing just that. Pete Hanson with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association supports that bill. He testifies at a public hearing Wednesday that if restaurant owners face such lawsuits, the financial burden would put them in a tough position. “They would argue that the amount of money from that settlement is the difference between them hiring a new management level employee at a restaurant or not; hiring a handful of part time employees or not.”

Under the bill (SB-202), DWD may still award the employee back pay, costs, and attorney fees.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:17

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