Judge Tosses Milwaukee Sick Leave Law

June 15, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A law labeled by one business group as a "job killer," that would force Milwaukee employers to annually provide workers with nine paid sick leave days, has been struck down by a Wisconsin state judge.

Business Insurance said Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Thomas R. Cooper ruled that the ordinance is invalid because it provided paid sick leave to individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking, which were not mentioned in the original ballot initiative. which voters approved last November in a citywide binding referendum.

“This court holds the term ‘sick leave’ does not reasonably, intelligently and fairly comprise or reference domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking,” Cooper wrote in his ruling. “Therefore, this court holds that the ordinance was invalidly enacted.”   Cooper did not find that the ordinance was preempted by any state or federal law.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association. of Commerce, which called the law a “job killer,” had challenged the city ordinance  (see  Milwaukee Business Group to Battle Sick Leave Mandate ).

Amy Stear, state director of 9 to5, the National Association. of Working Women, said the group will appeal the decision. “While we are disappointed that Judge Cooper did not uphold the ordinance, we think higher courts will strike down the narrow grounds on which he based his ruling,” Stear asserted in a statement, Business Insurance said.

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) has introduced a similar sick leave measure in the U.S. House (see  CT Legislator Introduces Paid Sick Leave Bill ) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) is said to be preparing a companion Senate bill.

Cooper’s ruling is available  here .