Labor Standards Retaliation Law
Wisconsin law prohibits an employer or person from retaliating against an individual for the following reasons:
- The individual attempts to enforce a right s/he has under state labor standards laws;
- The employer or person believes the individual has attempted to enforce or may attempt to enforce her/his rights under state labor standards laws; and
- The individual participates in a labor standards investigation by the department.
Persons who believe they have been victims of unlawful retaliation may file a discrimination complaint with the department.
Does retaliation protection apply in every situation?
No. Retaliation protection applies to the following laws only:
- the Wisconsin Hours of Labor Act (Overtime), sec. 103.02, Stats.
- the Wisconsin Open Personnel Records Act, sec. 103.13, Stats.
- the Wisconsin Street Trades Act, sec. 103.28, Stats.
- the Wisconsin Street Trades Act, sec. 103.32, Stats. (wage claims provision)
- the Wisconsin Deduction Recovery Act, sec. 103.455, Stats.
- the Wage Rate on State Work Act, sec. 103.49, Stats. (for projects begun prior to January 1, 2017)
- Prevailing wage on State Building Projects, sec. 16.956, Stats. (for projects begun January 1, 2017 or later)
- the Wisconsin Highway Contracts Act, sec. 103.50, Stats.
- Prevailing wage on State Highway Projects, sec. 84.062, Stats. (for projects begun January 1, 2017 or later)
- the Wisconsin Minimum Wage Act, sec. 104.12, Stats.
- the Wisconsin Wage Payment Act, sec. 109.03, Stats.
- the Wisconsin Plant Closing Act, sec. 109.07, Stats.
- the Wisconsin Employment of Minors Act, secs. 103.64-103.82, Stats.
- the Wisconsin Prevailing Wage Act, sec. 66.0903, Stats. (for projects begun prior to January 1, 2017)
- Traveling Sales Crews, sec. 103.34, Stats.
- Cessation of Healthcare Benefits, sec. 109.075, Stats.
- the Internet Privacy Protection Act, sec. 995.55, Stats.
Can I file my complaint anonymously?
No. Employers must be provided a full and fair opportunity to respond to any claims made against them.
My employer has been treating me poorly ever since I filed a Labor Standards complaint. Am I being retaliated against?
It depends. The employer must take an adverse employment action against you. Retaliation is not limited to termination. It includes demotion, reduction in hours or pay, denial of a promotion, reprimands, negative performance reviews, and other adverse employment action.
Contact the Civil Rights Bureau to learn more about what kind of behavior constitutes an adverse employment action.
How do I file a complaint?
Employees who feel they have been the subject of retaliation can file a Fair Employment Law Complaint (ERD-4206-E) with the Civil Rights Bureau.
For more information:
- Contact Info
- Complaint Process ( English | Spanish )
- How to File a Complaint with the DWD Labor Standards Bureau
- Mediation Program (ERD-17095-P)