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Wisconsin Labor and Employment Law

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Wisconsin employment laws govern employer/employee relationships and set rules for minimum wage, overtime, and under what circumstances an employee can be fired. Employers who do not follow Wisconsin labor laws could face employment lawsuits for their actions. Lawsuits that could be filed include Wisconsin wrongful dismissal, discrimination and wage and hour claims.


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Wisconsin Wage and Hour Laws

californialabourlaw Wisconsin wage and hour laws vary depending on whether an employee is considered an "opportunity employee" or a "non-opportunity employee." An "opportunity employee" is an employee who is under the age of 20 and has been employed by a particular employer for 90 or fewer consecutive calendar days from the date of initial employment.

General minimum wage for non-opportunity employees is $7.25 an hour, whereas general minimum wage for opportunity employees is $5.90 an hour. Minimum wage for non-opportunity tipped employees is $2.33 an hour, while minimum wage for opportunity tipped employees is $2.13 an hour.

Employees under the age of 18 cannot work for more than six hours without being given a minimum 30-minute duty free meal break. Wisconsin state law does not require employers to provide rest breaks, coffee breaks or meal breaks to employees. If, however, an employee is required to work during a meal period or is not given a minimum of 30 minutes rest, the employer cannot deduct pay for that 30-minute break.

Employees in Wisconsin must be paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek unless they are exempt from overtime pay.

Wisconsin Employment At-Will

Wisconsin is an employment at will state, meaning employers and employees in the private sector have the right to terminate an employment relationship at any time and without reason. There are exceptions to employment at will, including that employers cannot fire employees for illegal reasons. Prohibited reasons for firing an employee include discrimination (such as firing an employee because of her race), retaliation, complaining about illegal acts, refusing to break a law or making an OSHA complaint.

Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act

Under the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act, employers with 50 or more permanent employees must allow their employees up to six weeks' leave in a calendar year for the birth or adoption of a child; up to two weeks' leave for the care of a child, spouse, parent, domestic partner or domestic partner's parents; and up to two weeks' leave for the employee's own serious health problem.

Federal Employment Law

In addition to Wisconsin labor law there are also federal laws that govern employment situations. These include the Fair Labor Standards Act (which sets rules for minimum wage and overtime), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Wisconsin Employment Legal Help

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Last updated on


Wisconsin Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Revived on Appeal
Wisconsin Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Revived on Appeal
June 21, 2017
Chicago, IL: A Wisconsin employment lawsuit that may have been lost on a complex legal technicality will live on to see another day, following a ruling by a split panel of the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. READ MORE


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