The Wisconsin General Assembly has introduced a new bill that would make it permissible for a school (see below for the specific entities covered) to fire or refuse to hire anyone with a felony conviction, regardless of how the felony relates to the employment.
The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau’s analysis of Assembly Bill (AB) 122 notes, in part, that the bill specifies that it would not be discriminatory for an educational agency to terminate or refuse to employ an individual who has been convicted of a felony and hasn’t been pardoned, regardless of whether the circumstances of the felony substantially relate to the circumstances of the particular job.
Under AB 122, an “educational agency” is defined as:
- a school district;
- a cooperative educational service agency;
- a county children with disabilities education board;
- a state prison;
- a juvenile correctional facility;
- a secured residential care center for children and youth;
- the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired;
- the Wisconsin Educational Services Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing;
- the Mendota Mental Health Institute;
- the Winnebago Mental Health Institute;
- a state center for the developmentally disabled;
- a private school;
- a charter school;
- an agency under contract with a school board to provide a program for children at risk; or
- a nonsectarian private school or agency under contract with the Milwaukee Public Schools Board to provide educational programs for children enrolled in the school district.
We will provide more in-depth information on this bill in the next issue of Wisconsin Employment Law Letter. In the meantime, you can find the full text of the bill at https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/proposals/ab122.