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Employment – Wage claims

Wisconsin Supreme Court


Employment – Wage claims

Where a collective bargaining agreement provided for unpaid meal breaks in violation of state law, it was reasonable for the DWD not to seek back pay.

“[T]his case involves two parties represented by counsel who prepared information and submitted it for review to the agency investigator. The plaintiffs appealed and later requested reconsideration from the agency. The facts were limited and undisputed. There is no question that the regulation was promulgated by DWD and no question that it is the agency charged with administering and resolving employment disputes. We therefore treat the DWD decision as one by an agency interpreting its own rules. As noted above, the standard we employ when reviewing an agency’s interpretation of its own rules is that it is due controlling weight. This recognizes the expertise and experience of DWD in both legal questions raised by employment disputes and technical matters such as formulas for back-pay calculations. See Kuhnert v. Advanced Laser Machining, Inc., 2011 WI App 23, ¶12, 331 Wis. 2d 625, 794 N.W.2d 805 (stating that ‘the department’s methodology for calculating . . . overtime pay is entitled to great weight deference.  . . . [N]either the statutes nor the administrative code define “regular rate of pay” or the appropriate method for calculating it.’)”

Reversed and Remanded.

2013AP265 Aguilar v. Husco International, Inc.

Crooks, J.

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