Many employers are surprised to learn Wisconsin law generally prohibits them from making hiring or other employment decisions based upon an individual's arrest or conviction record. Although there are some limited exceptions, the application of those exceptions presents an area of legal risk, especially for employers who do not have a good understanding of what the law provides.
Among other things, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act ("WFEA") provides it is an act of employment discrimination to terminate an individual from employment, or to discriminate in terms, conditions, or privileges of an individual's employment because of the individual's arrest record. Arrest record includes information indicating an individual has been:
- Taken into custody or detention
- Held for investigation
- Arrested, charged with, indicted or tried for any felony, misdemeanor or other offense pursuant to any law enforcement or military authority.
Under no circumstances may an employer consider an employee's past arrest record for which the individual was not convicted. However...