Wisconsin has two laws that govern background checks for employment with entities involved in providing care to adults (Wis. Stat. 50.065) and to children (Wis. Stat. 48.685). The laws permit extensive background checks when the applicant or employee will have or has "regular, direct contact" with the adults or children that are in the care of the entity. So if an applicant’s or employee’s position does not involve regular, direct patient contact, then these provisions likely do not apply and may not justify an employer’s use of certain arrest or conviction records in making an employment decision to hire or fire.
If the employer and applicant or employee do not fall within the provisions of the caregiver background investigation laws, then the general prohibition of arrest record discrimination found in the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act will apply,. The employer should not refuse to hire or fire someone based on an arrest that is no longer pending and did not result in a conviction or on a conviction that is not substantially related to the position.
If you are denied employment or fired because of an arrest or conviction record, you can file a complaint with the Equal Rights Division for Wisconsin.
With that said, it is not a violation of law for a prospective employer to ask about arrests or convictions.
For more information on Wisconsin’s law prohibiting discrimination in employment based on arrest or conviction records, see our page on this website discussing these rights: Arrest or Conviction Record Discrimination