Update: Wisconsin Senate passes bill to eliminate compensatory and punitive damages in state discrimination cases
As indicated in our September 30, 2011 entry, the Wisconsin Senate has been considering 2011 Senate Bill 202. This bill, if it becomes law, will eliminate compensatory and punitive damages in discrimination claims under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA), specifically overturning a law passed under Governor Jim Doyle only two years ago. The current measure has received strong support from employer groups within the state which argue that the damages provisions are bad for business. As of November 3, 2011, Senate Bill 202 is one step closer to becoming law. The Wisconsin Senate passed the legislation along party lines, with 17 Republicans voting in favor of the bill and 16 Democrats voting against it. If the Assembly passes the bill and Governor Scott Walker signs it, successful discrimination complainants will no longer be able to collect compensatory and punitive damages under the WFEA, but they will still be eligible to receive back pay and attorneys’ fees. Stay tuned for additional developments.