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Walker appointee says workplace harassment of gays is legal
|Last Edited||RP Nov 28, 2011 01:32pm|
|News Date||Wednesday, November 23, 2011 09:00:00 PM UTC0:0|
|Description||A commissioner on the board that makes final decisions in cases involving workplace discrimination says Wisconsin law does not prohibit anti-gay harassment on the job. |
Her two fellow commissioners strongly disagree.
Laurie McCallum, who was recently appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to a six-year term on the state’s Labor and Industry Review Commission, wrote that the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act applies only to sexual harassment. That contention was the basis for her dissenting opinion in a case involving Milwaukeean Chris Bowen, a machine operator who was subjected to years of anti-gay harassment as an employee of Stroh Precision Die Casting.
McCallum’s stance alarmed civil rights advocates as well as her fellow commissioners, who warned that her view could upend legal tradition and “make it permissible to harass an employee based upon race, national origin, religion, age or disability,” as well as sexual orientation.
Although Glaser and Crump prevailed over McCallum in the case, Bowen’s attorney Art Heitzer warned that Walker would have the opportunity to appoint another commissioner if he completes his four-year term. That would swing control of the commission, which also oversees workers compensation and unemployment insurance, in McCallum’s ideological direction.