Since October 2011, all local government units are required to have a “grievance procedure that addresses employee terminations.” Wis. Stat. § 66.0509(1m), requires that this procedure be a written document and that it address discipline and workplace safety issues as well as employee terminations. A Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision from December 2013, gives local governments reason local government units should review their grievance procedure.
Wis. Stat. § 66.0509(1m), does not define “employee terminations.” In Dodge County’s grievance policy “termination” was defined to exclude “termination of employment … due to medical condition, lack of qualification or license, non-renewal of contract, or other inability to perform job duties.” When a County employee lost her license due to an OWI, the County dismissed her. The employee requested a grievance hearing, but the county denied her a hearing. The employee sued and argued that Wis. Stat. § 66.0509(1m) required all employee terminations to be addressed by a grievance procedure.
The county maintained that she was not terminated. Under the county policy, because having a valid license was a qualification for her position, it was argued her job was lost due to losing the qualifications for the job, not due to “termination.” Ultimately the Court of Appeals held in Prof’l Emp. Local vs. Dodge County, 2014 WI App 8 ,that Wis. Stat. § 66.0509(1m) required all employee dismissals to be addressed by a grievance procedure. Therefore exclusions in Dodge County’s grievance procedure violated Wis. Stat. § 66.0509(1m). Id. ¶ 15. Read more »