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Employment — wage claims — preemption

Wisconsin Court of Appeals


Employment — wage claims — preemption

An employer violates the LMRA by providing unpaid 20-minute breaks to employees, even though the CBA specifically permitted them.

“The plain language of WIS. STAT. ch. 109, and the DWD rules related thereto, demonstrate the legislative intent to set certain minimum conditions of compensation (breaks of less than 30 minutes), to give employees the tools to enforce those requirements (DWD action and/or litigation), and to prevent an employer from insulating itself from liability by contracts with the employees or any other entity. Husco’s defenses all arise out of its theory that the implication of the CBA is that it contracted away its liability to pay for breaks of less than 30 minutes. Accepting the legal theory underlying those defenses would require that we ignore the plain language of WIS. STAT. §109.03(5). ‘We cannot ignore words in a statute to achieve a desired construction. Rather, a statute should be construed to give effect to its leading idea, and the entire statute should be brought into harmony with its purpose.’ State v. Okray Produce Co., 132 Wis. 2d 145, 150, 389 N.W.2d 825 (Ct. App. 1986), superseded on other grounds by State v. Marshland Acres, Inc., 2013 WI App 72, 348 Wis. 2d 29, 832 N.W.2d 157 (internal citation omitted).”

Reversed and Remanded.

Recommended for publication in the official reports.

2013AP265 Aguilar v. Husco International, Inc.

Dist. I, Milwaukee County, Amato, J., Kessler, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Eisenberg, Nathan D., Milwaukee; Ho, Yingtao, Milwaukee; For Respondent: Morris, Jeffrey, Milwaukee; Schaak, John C., Milwaukee

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