Wisconsin Civil Rights Laws

The phrase “civil rights” can conjure images from Rosa Parks and the early women’s rights movement to fair housing laws and gay marriage today. But what do the Badger State’s civil rights laws actually cover, and how do they differ from federal civil rights protections? Here is a brief introduction to civil rights laws in Wisconsin.

Civil Rights Laws

The phrase civil rights refers to the collective rights of citizens to receive fair and equal treatment under the law. Most civil rights laws exist at the federal level, mainly resulting from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. State laws can mirror federal civil rights regulations and in some cases can provide more protection against discrimination.

Civil Rights Laws in Wisconsin

Below you will find state-specific laws on civil rights in various different contexts, including whether private civil rights actions are permitted, applicable statutes of limitations, and pertinent code provisions.

Code Section

106.50 (Housing and Public Places); 111.31, et seq. (Employment)

Agency

Housing and Public Places and Employment: Dept. of Workfare Development

Administrative Preemption

Housing and Public Places: No; Employment: Yes

Private Action Permitted?

Housing and Public Places: Yes; Employment: Yes

Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff?

Housing and Public Places: Yes; Employment: No

Statute of Limitations

Housing and Public Places: 1 yr./private action, 1 yr./agency; Employment: 300 days

Filing Civil Rights Claims

Each state has a state civil rights office that enforces civil rights protections for the state’s residents. These commissions will generally work to eliminate cases of discrimination by enforcing the state’s civil rights laws through lawsuits filed on behalf of citizens. Commissions can handle complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, elder care, and more.

The Wisconsin Equal Rights Division can provide forms and resources for filing civil rights claims as well as answer questions relating to discrimination in employment, school, and public accommodations. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, you have several options (as well as several requirements) when it comes to filing a civil rights claim.

Related Resources for Civil Rights Laws:

Figuring out state and federal civil rights laws and what kinds of cases they cover can be a daunting task. You can visit FindLaw’s Civil Rights section for more introductory articles and resources on this topic. If you think you need legal assistance with a civil rights case, you can contact an experienced Wisconsin civil rights attorney near you and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.