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Ariens employee will keep job in wake of State of the State controversy

BRILLION, WI (WTAQ) - It looks like Christopher Barber will keep his job.

The 32-year-old Two Rivers man was hailed by Governor Scott Walker during his State of the State address last week -- only to learn later that Barber was a sex offender in his former life.

The Ariens snowblower plant in Brillion said it was considering Barber's job status, after both the company and the governor's office failed to check his background before highlighting him.

Company spokeswoman Ann Stilp now says Ariens continues to support Barber as an employee. 

ilwaukee area labor law expert Janet Heins tells the Journal Sentinel it would be hard to terminate Barber, as long as he didn't lie on his job application. Heins said people can only be fired for things substantially-related to work -- and she couldn't see how Barber's earlier convictions have anything to do with his job as a welder.

For the State of the State presentation, the governor's office asked employers to nominate workers hired during Walker's term, as an example of how the economy has grown since he's been in office.

Stilp tells the Journal Sentinel that Ariens took the full blame for the oversight of Barber -- and they've told that to the governor's staff.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)