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Frieze, east facade of Wisconsin State Capitol    
Welcome to the website of the Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission.

LIRC is an independent administrative agency which decides appeals in cases involving Unemployment  Insurance (UI),  Worker's Compensation (WC), and  Equal Rights (ER).

Information available at this website includes:  

In Brief - 

ER decisions uploaded 11/18

S.Ct. affirms per curiam Ct,App. decision holding Wis. Stat. 102.57 not preempted by OSHA  10/7

32 WC decisions from March-Sept 2014 uploaded

Ct.App. rules on pay discrim. statute of limitations

Wis. Sup. Court decision on Health Care Workers Protection Act

UI decisions uploaded 09/30

 

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What's New at LIRC and the LIRC website

* October 7, 2014 -- In a per curiam decision today in Sohn Manufacturing and Secura Insurance v. LIRC and Tanya Wetor, 2014 WI 112, __ Wis. 2d __, __ N.W.2d __, an evenly-divided Supreme Court today affirmed the Court of Appeals' published decision (2013 WI App 112, 350 Wis. 2d 469, 838 N.W.2d 131),which in turn affirmed the commission’s decision finding that a worker’s injury was caused by the employer’s violations of an OSHA standard and the safe place statute (Wis. Stat. § 101.11) and ordering the employer to pay an additional 15% under Wis. Stat. § 102.57.

On appeal, the employer argued OSHA preempted the commission's ability to award payments under Wis. Stat. § 102.57. However, the Court of Appeals noted that Congress explicitly preserved worker's compensation laws from preemption through a saving clause in OSHA. It rejected the employer’s argument that § 102.57 constituted “enforcement” of federal workplace safety regulations and OSHA, stating that § 102.57 is rather a worker's compensation law under the OSHA savings clause.

* September 16, 2014 -- In a decision recommended for publication, the Court of Appeals has clarified the applicability of the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act's statute of limitations to cases of pay discrimination.

Diane Mack was hired by Rice Lake Harley-Davidson to work as a motorcycle salesperson in 2003.  In 2009, after her employment was terminated, she filed a discrimination complaint under the WFEA, alleging that she had been discriminatorily paid less than a male colleague, Dodge, who was hired in 2004 and given a salary higher than hers. Rice Lake argued that the WFEA's 300-day statute of limitations began to run in 2004, when Mack was aware that Dodge was paid more.  An ALJ found the pay allegation timely, relying on the paycheck accrual rule in the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  On appeal, LIRC rejected the ALJ's reliance on the Ledbetter Act, but  it arrived at the same conclusion based on a different rationale.

LIRC noted that in a published decision issued almost 20 years ago, Abbyland Processing v. LIRC, 206 Wis. 2d 309, 557 N.W.2d 419  (Ct. App. 1996), the Court of Appeals had held that "[S]alary discrimination is an ongoing matter and can be challenged if the result of the discrimination occurs both within and outside the statute of limitations."  LIRC also noted though, that in subsequent years it had issued decisions which relied more on federal court interpretations of the statute of limitations in Title VII, and which increasingly moved away from the notion of salary discrimination as ongoing discrimination.  In LIRC's decision in Mack, it determined that the course taken by such decisions was contrary to the holding of Abbyland,  and that it was appropriate for it to "find its bearings and right its course" in the interpretation of the WFEA's statute of limitations.

In this week's decision, Rice Lake Harley Davidson v. LIRC and Diane Mack, 2014 WI App __, __ Wis.2d __, __ N.W.2d __, the Court of Appeals agreed with and affirmed LIRC's decision.  Extending due weight deference to LIRC's interpretation, the court reasoned that in view of the Abbyland decision, LIRC's interpretation was more reasonable.   Abbyland, the court stated, is "binding precedent ... directly on point."  The court also distinguished several other decisions which Rice Lake had argued were inconsistent with the court's reading of Abbyland.

 

* September 4, 2014 -- The 2014 Edition of the Equal Rights Decision Digest is now available on-line. This edition is updated with summaries of relevant LIRC and court decisions issued during calendar year 2013.

 

* July 22, 2014 --  In a decision issued today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed a 2011 LIRC decision, Asma Masri v. Medical College of Wisconsin, ERD Case No. CR200902766 (LIRC, Aug. 31, 2011), concerning the applicability of the Wisconsin Health Care Workers Protection Act, Wis. Stat. § 146.997.  

 Giving “due weight” deference to LIRC’s decision, the court agreed with LIRC that the HCWPA applies only to employees, a category that does not include interns who do not receive compensation or tangible benefits.

Asma Masri v. LIRC and Medical College of Wisconsin, 2014 WI  81, __ Wis.2d __, __ N.W.2d __ .

 

[More recent developments...]

 

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