UPDATE: 4/14/2022 - SB 708 was presented to the Governor on 4/14/2022. The Governor vetoed the bill on 4/15/2022.
If it had been signed into law, SB 708 would have voided restrictive covenants (also known as non-compete agreements) between employers and employees if (1) the employees are fired for not complying with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and (2) the employers employ at least 100 individuals. Restrictive covenants are contracts in which workers agree not to compete with their employers once they have left their jobs.
Governor Tony Evers, in his veto statement, again mentioned the "Legislature's continued efforts to inject partisan politics and rhetoric into public health practices by preventing employers from making decisions that work for them, their customers, their workers, and their operations to help prevent and suppress the spread of COVID-19." He also repeated his belief that there needs to be a focus on "following the science and the advice of public health experts."
State legislatures pass bills that regulate businesses all the time, and this legislation contained nothing egregious or burdensome. The bill only applied to larger entities employing 100 or more workers and terminated employees for not receiving a COVID-19 vaccine by voiding their non-compete agreements with employees. The bill did not even prohibit employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates, it just protected an employee’s ability to get another job in their same field of work at a company that did not require COVID-19 vaccination by voiding restrictive non-compete covenants.
NVIC maintains that individuals should not have to give up their right to work in their chosen field if they have made the decision they do not want or need the COVID-19 vaccine.
UPDATE: 3/1/2022 - SB 708 reported correctly enrolled in the Senate on 2/25/2022
UPDATE: 2/23/2022 - SB 708 passed third reading in the Assembly 60-36. Senate concurred.
UPDATE: 2/15/2022 - SB 708 passed third reading in the Senate.
UPDATE: 2/15/2022 - AB 725, companion bill to SB 708 and sponsored by Representative VanderMeer, is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Labor and Integrated Employment Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 16th, at 10:30 AM at 415 Northwest. Agenda - https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1661536
UPDATE: 2/12/2022 - SB 708 placed on Senate 2/15/2022 Calendar.
UPDATE: 2/11/2022 - SB 708 passed in the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform Ayes 3, Noes 2
UPDATE: 2/9/2022 - SB 708 is scheduled for an executive session in the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform on Thursday, Feb. 10th at 10:00 AM at 10 South. Agenda: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1660065
UPDATE: 2/2/2022 - SB 708 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform on Tuesday, Feb. 8th at 10:00 AM at 300 Southeast. Agenda: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1658327
UPDATE: 2/1/2022 - CANCELLED: SB 708 hearing on 2/3/2022 in Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform.
SB 708 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform on Thursday, Feb. 3rd, at 10:00 AM at 411 South State Capitol. This bill is sponsored by Senator Nass.
Link to notice of public hearing: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1657227
These bills void restrictive covenants (also known as non-compete agreements) between employers and employees if (1) the employees are fired for not complying with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and (2) the employers employ at least 100 individuals.
NVIC supports this bill, however it could be improved by extending its provisions to all employers, not just those who employ 100 or more workers.
The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the OSHA vaccine mandate on employers with 100 or more employees on 1/13/2022, stating that "Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab725 - text, status, and history of AB 725.
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/proposals/reg/sen/bill/sb708 - text, status, and history of SB 708.