Employees FAQ 1

Is it necessary for a municipality to advertise a job opening before filling the position?

Although no state or federal law requires that available positions of municipal employment be advertised, it is probably better practice to do so. See League opinions Employees 240 and 271. Absent an advertising requirement imposed by a local civil service ordinance enacted pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0509, or imposed as a condition to the receipt of governmental grants for funding, a municipality need not advertise a municipal job opening. Even though a municipality is not required to solicit applications for an available municipal position, municipalities should be aware that state and federal law (i.e., Wisconsin's Fair Employment Law, Wis. Stat. secs. 111.31 to 111.395, and the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. secs. 12101 to 12213) prohibit discrimination in hiring on the basis of things like age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, arrest record, conviction record or membership in the military. In view of the desirability of providing equal employment opportunities, and to ensure that the above factors are not improperly considered in hiring decisions, it might be advisable for a municipality to develop a procedure for soliciting applications which recognizes these goals and prohibitions. Word-of-mouth advertising is not a very effective means of providing equal employment opportunities and may in fact be illegal where the employer has established an affirmative action program.