Immigration Protest in Wisconsin Could Impact Dairy Work Forces
The Wisconsin law firm Michael Best issued an alert to clients this morning on a scheduled immigration protest march next week in Milwaukee.
The protest is being held after Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke announced plans to participate in a federal program that allows local law enforcement to perform some of the same duties as U.S. Immigration Enforcement officers, says the alert.
A protest in Madison, Wis., last year over immigration issues drew some 20,000 protesters, and many dairy farms scrambled to fill milking and feeding shifts when their Hispanic workers attended that event. Monday’s protest in Milwaukee is not expected to be as large, but organizers are providing bus transportation from Appleton and Green Bay. These northeast Wisconsin cities are surrounded by large dairies that employ Hispanic workers.
“There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to the variety of issues associated with employee involvement in immigration marches or protests,” says the Michael Best alert. “We urge employers to review their existing policies, consult with legal counsel about their rights and responsibilities, and map out a common sense approach consistent with their workplace culture.
“Employers should address employee time-off requests in a manner consistent with their employee handbooks, other unpaid and paid leave and attendance policies, and labor agreements (if applicable). Any communication to employees should be carefully considered, professional, and free from any bias that could invite claims under state or federal discrimination laws or violate any labor agreements.”