RENEE PECK, Complainant
WALWORTH COUNTY, Respondent A
WILLIAM WEILAND, Respondent B
An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development (Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations prior to July 1 1996) 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 information which was before the ALJ. Based on its review, the commission agrees with the decision of the ALJ, and it adopts the ALJ's decision and order as its own.
The decision of the administrative law judge (copy attached) is affirmed.
Dated and mailed September 27, 1996
peckren . rsd : 164 : 9
/s/ Pamela I. Anderson, Chairman
/s/ Richard T. Kreul, Commissioner
/s/ David B. Falstad, Commissioner
This case presents the question of whether the complainant's claim of retaliation based upon the respondent's release of the terms of a confidential settlement agreement, which the parties arrived at in resolution of an equal rights complaint filed by the complainant, is related to an employment relationship so as to state a claim under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (hereinafter "Act.") The commission concludes that it is not, for the reasons set forth herein. An adverse action may be subject to the anti-retaliation provisions of the Act, even though its relationship to an employment opportunity is only indirect. See Seeman v. Universal Foods Corp. (LIRC, September 22, 1994), and cases cited therein. In the instant case, however, no allegation has been made that the respondent's release of confidential settlement information had even an indirect relationship to the complainant's employment. To the contrary, in her discrimination complaint the complainant alleged that she wanted the terms of the settlement agreement to remain confidential so as to avoid disclosure to members of her family who are employed by the respondent and who would be displeased with the settlement terms. Thus, the harm of which the complainant complains relates to her relationship with family members, and not to her employment or opportunities for future employment. Further, given that the information alleged to have been released was not information calling into question the complainant's character or work habits, the commission fails to see how the respondent's actions could be considered employment-related, even had such an allegation been made. The dismissal of the complaint is, therefore, affirmed.
Lisa M. Bergersen
Ritchie J. Sturgeon
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