Posted on May 19, 2014
The Wisconsin State Assembly recently passed legislation that repeals the 2009 Wisconsin Act 20. This legislation, SB 202, ends punitive and compensatory damages in cases of employees alleging workplace discrimination.
Under the present law, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, judges can order up to $300,000 for these types of damages. SB 202 repeals these punitive and compensatory damages. Employees still have the right to sue for workplace discrimination. The only changes are that they cannot add punitive or compensatory damages to their lawsuit.
The legislature chose to repeal the previous 2009 act because it created a situation where businesses faced higher damage amounts. Even in cases where discrimination may not have occurred, companies begin settling outside of court for larger amounts to avoid higher potential damages.
Employees can still file lawsuits under SB 202 and seek reinstatement, back pay, court and attorney fees. The Wisconsin legislator found the previous 2009 legislation to be duplicative with federal law already providing the same level of protection and right to sue for punitive and compensatory damages.
Claims of discrimination by employees may happen at any time. The expense of dealing with a lawsuit for alleged discrimination can become very costly. That's why many Wisconsin business owners choose to purchase employment practices liability insurance. This vital coverage protects companies when employees file suit for discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination. It will pay for court costs, attorney fees and usually any punitive damages awarded by the court.
Contact our insurance professionals to learn more about protecting your company from the high cost of discrimination suits, property damages or injuries today.