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Searching for Articles published in July 2013.
Found 7 Results.

Must You Accommodate the Bored Worker?

Posted on July 3, 2013, Authored by Dean R. Dietrich, Filed under Employment

I wrote several weeks ago about the changes made to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and the suggestion that caffeine withdrawal was now a disability that required some level of accommodation from an employer. Another change is the recognition of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as a new disability. This diagnosis includes such things as autistic disorder, Asperger's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive mental disorder. Individuals with ASD may be over-sensitive to smells, sights and sounds or may experience memory deficits that interfere with a person's ability to complete tasks, remember job duties or recall daily actions. These conditions could result in an employee standing around looking bored but perhaps actually standing around not remembering what next task must be completed. Employers may now be required to address some of these symptoms by making accommodations for an ASD employee. Employers may have to address an over-sensitivity to smell, sights or sounds by allowing fresh air breaks or adopting a fragrance-free work policy. Employers may have to change lighting in order to address fluorescent light sensitivity or move an employee to a quiet area to address extra-sensitivity to noise. Employers may also have to provide additional training or even provide written instructions to an employee that experiences memory deficiencies as part of this condition. This disease also can be attributed to individuals who have difficulty interacting with others in the workplace. This may require employers to limit mandatory attendance at company functions or encourage other employees to minimize personal conversations in work areas or use a particular type of communication, such as using text messaging to communicate with an employee with this condition. This is another example of how employers may be restricted in how they treat their employees and may be required to provide significant accommodations to individuals that are diagnosed with these new disabilities. Employers should be careful when addressing the quirky behavior of a particular employee to avoid accusations of discrimination against a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Waiting For The Affordable Care Act Marketplace To Open

Posted on July 25, 2013, Authored by Mary Ellen Schill, Filed under Employment

Late last month I returned to the scene of an earlier crime (October 2012) and once again met with employer-members of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce to talk about the Affordable Care Act and the October 1 opening of the Marketplace (formerly known as the Exchange). I think it is safe to say that both me and my audience had grown a little older and a little wiser since my last presentation. The issuance of a few hundred pages of regulations definitely has an effect on a health care reform advisor. This presentation pre-dated the announcement of the delay of the employer pay or play mandate, so as with everything lately related to health care reform, the shelf life of this presentation is a little bit shorter than the new Twinkies. The grand opening of the Marketplace however hasn't been delayed, so still some takeaways to be had.

Attorney Paul Mirr Joins Ruder Ware

Posted on July 1, 2013, Authored by ,

Ruder Ware is pleased to announce the addition of Paul Mirr to their Eau Claire attorney team. An Eau Claire native, Paul previously worked for a company once listed on the Inc. 500's list of the country's fastest growing companies. This experience allows Paul to truly understand the needs, desires, and challenges facing small business owners. At Ruder Ware, Paul advises clients on a wide variety of business transactional matters, including the organization of business entities; financing, sale and acquisition transactions; and related matters. Paul also assists clients who are involved in general business litigation matters. He earned his B.B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and his J.D. cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

One-Year Delay for Pay or Play Does Not Affect October 1 Opening of the Marketplace (Maybe)!

Posted on July 22, 2013, Authored by Mary Ellen Schill, Filed under Employment

The Obama Administration's announcement of the one year delay for the employer shared responsibility requirements (the "pay or play" mandate) did not directly impact the October 1 opening of the health insurance exchanges (now known as the Marketplace). Last month I had the opportunity to sit on a panel at a public forum here in Wausau which discussed the Marketplace. The Wausau Daily Herald published an article about the forum, and an op-ed. Employers with less than 100 full-time equivalents in Wisconsin, while not subject to the pay or play mandate in 2014, might still decide to take their employees to the Marketplace in 2014, not to avoid a penalty, but rather to identify the extent to which employees are interested in what the Marketplace has to offer.

Treasury Department Postpones ACA Employer Mandate To 2015

Posted on July 2, 2013, Authored by Mary Ellen Schill, Filed under Employment

The Treasury Department announced late Tuesday afternoon that it was delaying until 2015 the employer "shared responsibility" mandate, the Affordable Care Act mandate for large employers, until 2015. This means that employers with more than 50 full time equivalents will NOT be subject to penalties in 2014 for failing to offer coverage, or failing to offer affordable coverage, to full time employees. So far, it is still anticipated that the Exchanges (now known as the Marketplace) will be up and running in 2014. Also, individuals will still be eligible for premium tax credits for purchasing coverage through the Marketplace. So, employers will now have additional time to determine whether they are subject to the shared responsibility mandate, and if so, how to comply. I think most of us thought any delay with respect to 2014 would be in implementation of the Marketplace, but instead it is a delay in the employer mandate that came to fruition. The Treasury expects to issue some more detail about this delay within the next week.

Residency Requirements are Severely Limited

Posted on July 9, 2013, Authored by ,

The Budget Bill has created a new state statute that addresses employee residency requirements. Section 66.0502 was created by 2013 Wisconsin Act 20. This new law was published on July 1, 2013 and therefore is effective on July 2, 2013.   Under the new state statute, a local government unit is defined as a city, village, town, county or school district. Thus, residency requirements in Administrator Employment Contracts are also covered by this new state law.   The essence of this new law is that a local government unit may not require, as a condition of employment, that any employee or perspective employee reside within any jurisdictional limit except for law enforcement, fire or emergency personnel. Under subsection (4) of the new statute, a local government unit may impose a residency requirement on law enforcement, fire or emergency personnel that would require this type of employee to reside within 15 miles of the jurisdictional boundaries of the local government unit. The law does not require the individual to reside within 15 miles of a particular location (i.e. fire station) but rather within 15 miles of the boundaries of the municipality. The law clearly indicates that this residency requirement (of 15 miles) does not apply to a volunteer law enforcement, volunteer fire or volunteer emergency personnel who may be considered an employee of a local government unit.   Recent stories have indicated that the City of Milwaukee will be filing a legal challenge against this new state law. That legal challenge will focus upon the "home rule" statute that applies to cities so the legal challenge may only limit the applicability of this new state law in limited circumstances.   Ruder Ware will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates to its clients. If you have questions regarding the above, please contact Dean Dietrich, the author of this article, or any of the attorneys on the Local Governments Focus Team, or the School Districts Focus Team of Ruder Ware.

WERC Orders Re-certification Elections

Posted on July 11, 2013, Authored by ,

The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) has recently announced the timelines for public employee unions currently representing employees to file petitions for re-certification as a recognized bargaining agent for public sector employees. New election rules which focus only on re-certification elections, were published by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission after approval by the Governors Office. In announcing these new rules, the WERC has said that the rules apply to all current public sector unions except those unions affected by the Dane County Circuit Court decision which is currently pending for review before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. As you may suspect, there will be many legal challenges as to whether the Dane County Circuit Court decision should apply to public employee unions throughout the state. The new WERC rules apply to school employees and to general municipal employees. Unions representing school employees are required to file a petition and pay the appropriate fee by August 30, 2013, in order to be re-certified as the designated bargaining representative for the school district employees. If a petition is not filed and there is no existing labor agreement (on the issue of base wages), the bargaining representative is deemed to no longer represent those employees. If a petition is not filed and there is an existing collective bargaining agreement on the topic of base wages, the bargaining representative is no longer certified to represent the employees as of the expiration of the existing labor agreement. The same concepts apply to bargaining representatives for general municipal employees (all unions other than school district employee unions); however, the filing date is on or before January 30, 2014. These rules do not apply to public safety employee unions and transit unions. These rules also do not apply to a group of employees that are not currently represented by a bargaining representative; those groups would have to follow the normal election petition procedures including a requirement that the proposed bargaining representative show that 30% of the employees in the group support the petition for representation. It is not clear whether the unions currently representing school district employees and general municipal employees will follow the timelines established in these new WERC rules. We anticipate that many unions will say that they do not have to follow the re-certification process because of the pending appeal of the Dane County Circuit Court decision. This is a topic that may be litigated in the future. We continue to wait for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to consider the appeal of the Dane County Circuit Court decision. The appeal will likely be argued this fall with a decision coming by mid-year of 2014. Some of these other issues may wait until after the Supreme Court decision. We will continue to monitor this situation and keep everyone informed of any new developments. If you have questions regarding the above, please contact Dean Dietrich, the author of this article, or any of the attorneys on the Local Governments Focus Team, or the School Districts Focus Team of Ruder Ware.