Madison -- Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced that as part of Governor Doyle’s budget and restructuring plan, the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development would today assume the responsibilities related to discrimination and whistleblower complaints against the state as an employer. Historically, the Personnel Commission performed these functions. The Equal Rights Division previously enforced the Wisconsin Fair Employment Law for Wisconsin’s employers, excluding those complaints against state agencies. Last year the Equal Rights Division processed over 4,000 complaints of employment discrimination. Officials expect an additional 200 complaints, as a result of this change.
The Department will be issuing an emergency rule governing the procedures for processing these complaints, effective immediately, to ensure that service is not seriously delayed by this administrative change. The emergency rule will repeal the Personnel Commission rules affecting duties within the Equal Rights Division, amending the existing fair employment rules and family and medical leave rules to include state respondents, and creating new whistleblower protection rules.
"I’m very pleased that we are able to assume this new role in assisting in the enforcement of equal opportunity laws for all Wisconsin workers," said Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman. "We will strive to continue to enforce these laws in a fair, efficient, and timely manner."