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Searching for Articles published in September 2013.
Found 4 Results.

Federal Court Upholds NLRB Approval of Mini-Bargaining Unit

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

A recent decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (the Federal Court covering the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) held that the NLRB decision allowing for a "mini-union" was a valid and proper exercise of Board authority. In this case, the NLRB approved a bargaining unit that was comprised of a small group of employees in one position (certified nursing assistant position) instead of requiring the unit to represent a comprehensive bargaining unit of all employees with a "similar community of interest." In its ruling, the Board held that the employer had to prove "overwhelming community of interest" factors in order to strike down the proposed small bargaining unit and require an election to be held amongst employees in a large group of positions. This decision recognizes and validates NLRB rulings that require a company to prove overwhelming circumstances why the union should be required to win an election of a larger bargaining unit instead of the smaller bargaining unit comprised of one position. The impact of this decision is the potential that employers will be faced with union election petitions to represent a small portion of an employee workforce. This will certainly allow the union to be more successful in an election of a narrow group of employees with the potential that the union will expand to cover other positions in the future. This ruling opens the door to aggressive union campaigns for smaller components of an employee workforce where the likelihood of success is stronger. Employers must continue to be on watch for union-organizing activities in the workplace. Examples of union-organizing activities are flyers distributed by union officials to employees (or placing them on windshields of automobiles), secretive discussions in the hallway or after work hours, or invitations to union-organizing meetings outside the workplace. Employers must continue to watch for telltale signs of union-organizing activities and respond appropriately within the confines of the law.

Local Government Seminar - Fall 2013

Posted on September 25, 2013, Authored by ,

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company, Wausau, WI Update on Health Care Reform: Are You Going to Pay or Play? Attorney Mary Ellen Schill Local governments are anxiously awaiting further clarification of the feasibility of using health insurance exchanges (including the Small Business Health Option Program or "SHOP") in 2014. Some municipal employers are still unsure whether they are subject to the (now delayed) shared responsibility provisions in the Affordable Care Act. This presentation will address the current state of regulations and provide assistance to municipal employers to determine whether they are applicable to large employers for purposes of the pay or play mandate, and in considering health insurance exchanges and SHOP for their employees. Open Government in the New Age of Technology Attorney Dean Dietrich This presentation will discuss the impact of technology (Facebook, e-mail, texting, etc.) on the Wisconsin Open Meetings and Wisconsin Public Records Law. Local government officials are wrestling with a number of difficult issues as technology changes and methods of communication change with tremendous speed. Local governments are considering their own websites and Facebook page and wondering what obligations they have to notify the public about open meetings and retain copies of those items as public records. This presentation will discuss the obligations under the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law and the Public Records Law and provide insights and guidance regarding the handling of meetings and records in our new world of technology. Surviving the Perfect Storm: What to do When ADA, FMLA, and Workers' Compensation Collide Attorney Kevin Terry Federal and state FMLA, disability, and workers' compensation laws continue to create compliance problems for employers. This presentation will touch on recent legislative developments and influential court decisions under these laws. We will walk through real world case situations and how FLMA, disability, and workers' compensation law apply. Attendees will be encouraged to participate and analyze the case situations and provide insight. Update on Act 10 Litigation & Stump the Lawyer (Q&A) Program

Obesity as a Protected Category?

Posted on September 18, 2013, Authored by Dean R. Dietrich, Filed under Employment

I have written blogs in the past about obesity not being a protected category under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. Over the weekend, the American Medical Association announced that obesity should now be considered a disease. It is anticipated that insurance companies will now recognize obesity as a covered illness and provide insurance payments for various treatments related to this condition. I wonder whether the conclusion that obesity is a disease will now mean that persons suffering from that condition are considered disabled and therefore subject to protection and a reasonable accommodation in the workplace. For the most part, court decisions have not recognized obesity as a protected category for which protection from discrimination would apply. The characterization of obesity as a disease may change the courts thinking on this and impose a duty on employers to not discriminate against a person suffering from that condition and require an employer to make a reasonable accommodation for someone who can't perform all the regular duties of a position because of the condition of obesity. This is a new area that may result in different types of litigation to seek damages or seek accommodations if it is proven that an employer discriminated against a person because of their body condition. We will have to see how cases play out with the newly recognized disease of obesity. Employers must be careful that they make employment decisions based upon the performance of an individual employee and not because of any other reason or even partially because of any other reason. Good documentation of the rationale for taking an adverse employment action is the best defense an employer can have to a claim of discrimination. Supervisors should be trained to make good decisions and have good justification for their decisions.

Seminar Archive

Posted on September 5, 2013, Authored by ,

Ruder Ware attorneys are frequently sought-after presenters, often traveling throughout the state to present on a wide range of topics. The below listing contains detail on topics previously presented by Ruder Ware attorneys. If you are interested in having a Ruder Ware attorney present on one of the previously presented topics, or a different topic, to your group or organization, please contact Lisa O'Flyng at 715.845.4336.