Misrepresentations in the Employment Relationship—By the Employer

Did you know that Wisconsin law prohibits an employer and anyone acting on its behalf from making misrepresentations to an employee or prospective employee with the intent or for the purpose of inducing the public to enter into any contract or other obligation relating to the terms of employment?
Seldom used for this purpose, but Wisconsin Statutes 100.18, part of Wisconsin’s Marketing and Trade Practices protections, prohibits such misrepresentations in many consumer transactions and the employment context. If someone suffers pecuniary loss–generally a financial loss—he or she can a claim that can be enforced in the civil courts of Wisconsin for that loss plus the costs of the action and a reasonable attorney’s fee. If there was a prior injunction in place as to the offending conduct, then the injured consumer may recover twice his or her pecuniary loss.
Wisconsin Statues 103.43 has similar prohibitions specific to misrepresentations made to induce someone to leave one job for another, but typically applies in manual labor settings.
This law, if applied in the employment context, could cover false statements of wages, salary and other employment compensation or benefits. It could also cover situations where the employer promises a position without ever intending to actually hire the consumer. These inquiries, and whether the law would provide any remedy, are very fact specific to each circumstance.

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