MADISON, October 16, 2020 – The National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center (NFIB SBLC), has just filed an amicus brief on behalf of small business owners across the state of Wisconsin. NFIB argues that Governor Evers’ actions to release the names of small businesses with employees testing positive for COVID-19 is not only illegal but will take a monumental toll on the financial health of small businesses in Wisconsin. Small business owners are already struggling from the impact of mandated shutdowns and closures.
“Actions by the governor to publish the names of small businesses with COVID-19 cases from months ago does nothing to help curb the spread of the virus,” said NFIB State Director in Wisconsin, Bill G. Smith. “Instead, this bad policy is simply a finger pointing fear tactic to ‘out’ hard working small business owners who have done everything they could to stop the spread of the virus.”
If the governor is allowed to carry out his actions, small businesses across the state will shut down and thousands of Wisconsinites will lose their jobs. The NFIB SBLC urges the court to issue an immediate temporary injunction to “preserve the status quo.”
“Allowing Wisconsin’s Governor to bypass federal and state privacy laws will detrimentally and permanently impact small businesses throughout the State of Wisconsin,” said Karen Harned, NFIB Small Business Legal Center’s Executive Director. “What the Administration’s plan to release months-old positive test results and the businesses names of employees testing positive will do, instead of slowing the spread of COVID-19, is detrimentally, permanently, and irreparably, impact the financial stability and existence of businesses in Wisconsin.”
The evidence is clear: small businesses across Wisconsin are greatly impacted by the health and economic crisis. The NFIB Research Center has been collecting information from small business owners since the pandemic hit. The most recent survey found that almost half of small business owners felt they needed another round of financial support from the government to keep their doors open. Twenty-two percent of small business owners reported that their sales are still below 50 percent of what they were before the pandemic. Another 20 percent reported that they will be laying off employees in the next six months.
NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center is a nonprofit, public interest law firm, established to provide legal resources and be the voice for small businesses in the nation’s courts through representation on issues of public interest affecting small businesses. NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, representing members in Washington D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a non-profit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of its members to own, operate, and grow their businesses. To fulfill its role as the voice for small business, the NFIB SBLC frequently files amicus briefs in cases that affect small businesses.