RANDALL L WENDT, Complainant
MARATHON COUNTY, Respondent
An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development issued a decision in this matter. A timely petition for review was filed.
The commission has considered the petition and the positions of the parties, and it has reviewed the evidence submitted to the ALJ. Based on its review, the commission agrees with the decision of the ALJ, and it adopts the findings and conclusion in that decision as its own.
The decision of the administrative law judge (copy attached) is affirmed.
Dated and mailed July 31, 2002
wendtra . rsd : 164 : 9
/s/ David B. Falstad, Chairman
/s/ James A. Rutkowski, Commissioner
/s/ Laurie R. McCallum, Commissioner
In his petition for commission review the complainant argues that he feels the respondent is covered under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (hereinafter "Act") because it is an employment agency and, further, that its job programs have made him a dislocated worker due to their support of the people that were allowed to use his trademark. The complainant also apparently contends that the respondent qualifies as a licensing agency and that it discriminated against him with respect to licensing. As the administrative law judge indicated in his decision, however, the question is not whether the respondent is considered to be a covered employer under the Act, but whether the complainant has alleged that he was discriminated against in a manner prohibited by the Act. The commission does not believe he has done so. The complainant does not contend that he was ever employed by the respondent or that he attempted to secure employment with the respondent, and it is clear that he had no employment relationship with the respondent. Moreover, even assuming the respondent could be considered a licensing agency, the complainant has not contended that he was denied a license within the meaning of Wis. Stat. § 111.32(10). The complainant alleges that the respondent denied him use of a trademark. A trademark does not constitute a form of permission required by a state or local government for undertaking an occupation or profession, and while a businessperson's inability to make use of a trademark might arguably have some effect on his ability to earn an income, that is not a matter that is covered under the Act. The commission has considered the remaining arguments raised by the complainant in his petition, but finds them similarly unpersuasive. Because the commission agrees with the administrative law judge that the complainant has failed to state a claim which is cognizable under the Act, the dismissal of his complaint is affirmed.
NOTE: In his petition the complainant states that he attempted to file a Public Accommodations complaint in a timely manner but did not do so because of misinformation he received from the Equal Rights Division. The complainant makes a "motion" to file his Public Accommodations complaint at this time. The commission, however, does not have authority to receive a Public Accommodations complaint, and any such complaint must be filed with the Division. Should the complainant take the necessary steps to file a complaint with the Division, any issues relating to the timeliness of the complaint will be initially addressed by the Division, whose determination is subject to appeal.
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