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Searching for Articles published in October 2013.
Found 63 Results.

FMLA Leave May Be Involuntary - But Risky Proposition

Posted on October 23, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

A few days ago a prospective client flippantly asked me if it could force one of its employees to take FMLA leave. The prospective client was surprised to learn that the answer may be yes [under the right circumstances, of course assuming the employee is eligible for FMLA leave and the reason for the absence meets the definition of "serious health condition"]. However, notwithstanding the allure of involuntary FMLA leave [e.g., when an employee clearly appears to pose a direct threat to his or her safety or the safety of others], involuntary FMLA leave may give rise to a so-called "interference with rights" claim which can land employers in hot water. A recent federal court case out of Minnesota is the most-recent case to touch on the practice of involuntary FMLA leave. The case is Walker v. Trinity Marine Products, Inc. In Walker, the employer told its employee that it believed she suffered from a serious health condition, placed her involuntarily on FMLA leave, and required her to obtain a certification from her doctor of her fitness to return to work. When the employee ultimately furnished the requested certification, the employer refused to allow her to return to work, and she later sued. The employee claimed that her employer interfered with her rights under the FMLA by placing her on leave when she did not suffer from a serious health condition, and thus, wrongfully impeded her ability to use FMLA leave when she really needed it. Although, the Walker Court did not specifically take a position on whether involuntary FMLA leave is allowed, it did reference cases from other jurisdictions that have endorsed involuntary FMLA leave as long as the employee has a serious health condition [e.g., the Sixth Circuit's 2006 opinion in Wysong v. Dow Chemical Co. and the Fifth Circuit's 2006 opinion in Willis v. Coca Cola Enterprises, Inc.]. However, the Walker Court did conclude that if involuntary FMLA leave is allowed, an interference with rights claim lacks merit unless the employee can show that the involuntary leave prevented the employee from later using FMLA leave when needed. An employee would also be required to show that he or she did not actually suffer from a "serious health condition" at the time his or her employer placed him or her involuntarily on FMLA leave [see Wysong v. Dow Chemical Co.]. Although involuntary FMLA leave is tempting in certain situations, restraint is required. If an employer is considering involuntary FMLA leave, careful analysis of whether the reason for leave is a "serious health condition" is necessary.

Special Briefing - Budget Repair Bill

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company, Wausau, WI Budget Repair Bill Proposes Significant Changes To Municipal Collective Bargaining Laws Specific Items in Legislative Proposal Retirement Contributions Interest Arbitration Changes Duty to Bargain over Wages Health Insurance Premium Contributions Civil Service/Grievance Process Teacher Layoff/Nonrenewal What does the future look like? Re-writing Personnel Policies Grievance Process Non-grandfather Status of Health Insurance Plans Bargaining over Wages Treating Non-Represented Employees Notification to Unions

Local Government Seminar - Spring 2010

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company, Wausau, WI Municipal Financing in Tough Times Sean Lentz, CIPFA, Ehlers & Associates Local government units throughout the State of Wisconsin have experienced significant revenue shortfalls. This comes from reduced state revenues in the form of aid to local governments, reduced taxes and fee revenues, and a decline in valuation of property that supports property tax revenues. Because of this revenue shortfall, local governing bodies have embraced private sector attitudes in address expense reductions and cost savings in order to balance the municipal budget. Dealing with the Media: Understanding What to Say and How to Say It Panel: Glen Moberg, Wisconsin Public Radio; Pat Peckham, City Pages; Matt Lehman, WSAU Radio Communicating with the media and the public is an ever present task for local government officials. This panel discussion will include recognized names in our local news media and will identify best practices on how to better interact with the media and what to share when in a media interview. Wisconsin Public Records Law: What's Happening? Attorney Dean Dietrich Our attorneys regularly work with officials on compliance with the Public Records Law including the obligations of each local official under the law. This presentation will address the anticipated Supreme Court decision on status of public employee personal e-mails under the Public Records Law.

Preparing for the Future

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Holiday Inn, Rothschild, WI, and The Florian Gardens, Eau Claire, WI This seminar was also held on October 20, 2009 The Importance of Estate Planning Attorneys Melissa Kampmann and Linda Danielson How to avoid probate How to plan for your retirement assets in your estate plan How to avoid guardianship How to reduce and/or eliminate taxes Protect Your Assets Attorney Mark Munson The Need For Planning Who is Eligible For Medical Assistance Planning? Protection of the House & Vacation Home Permitted Transfers of Assets Using Trusts to Protect Your Assets

Issues and Trends Impacting School Districts

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Howard Johnsons hotel, Wausau, WI Seminar Sponsors: CWASM and Ruder Ware Collective Bargaining - Issues and Trends Impacting School Districts Attorney Dean Dietrich This Program will give an update regarding the municipal collective bargaining law in Wisconsin and changes that may impact bargaining with public employee unions. Many changes are on the horizon for municipal collective bargaining. Treatment of prohibited subjects of bargaining and the use of the declaratory ruling process will be discussed, along with suggestions on how to negotiate in this era of revenue reductions. A look at layoff language and management right language that vests additional authority in the School Board to address the economic realities will also be discussed. Recent Developments Under Wisconsin's Fair Employment Act - How to Cope With the Expansion of Rights Given Up Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney This Program will discuss recent decisions under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act and provide guidance to School District officials on how to avoid having a discrimination complaint filed against your School District. Topics will include sexual harassment cases, avoiding disability discrimination claims and addressing reductions in force without being accused of age discrimination. This Presentation will also discuss recent decisions in the courts and administrative agencies that impose additional risks for School District employers in the form of claims when dealing with protected categories of employees. Student Expulsions: Tips and Alternatives Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney Unfortunately, student expulsions continue and school districts continue to have expulsion decisions reversed by the State Superintendent. This presentation will review mistakes that are commonly made when expelling a student and how to correct them. Alternatives to student expulsions will also be reviewed with the audience invited to participate. Documents needed for student expulsions, such as model expulsion hearing notices, will be distributed to the attendees (at no charge!).

Dane County Judge Issues Contempt Order; Re-certification Elections on Hold

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by Dean R. Dietrich,

On Monday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas issued an order finding the two-members of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in contempt of court for continuing to process re-certification elections involving school district employees. Judge Colas held that the two commissioners (the third has not been appointed by Governor Walker) were violating his Circuit Court order by proceeding with re-certification elections that involve school district employees even though the Judge recently ruled that he could not enforce his decision on school districts or municipalities other than the Madison School District and the City of Milwaukee. The Judge concluded that the Commission was in contempt of court because it has proceeded with re-certification elections when the Judge ruled (in his decision in September 2012) that the requirement of re-certification elections in Act 10 was unconstitutional. That decision is on appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and oral argument before the Supreme Court will be held on November 11. A decision from the Court is anticipated in January or early February. What does this mean for school district employers and city/county employers? First, it appears that the Commission will not process the re-certification elections that were scheduled to be held (by telephone) in early November. These elections have been put on hold and will not likely take place. This does not mean that school districts are legally obligated to negotiate with employee unions/associations over wages, hours and conditions of employment. This means that the employee unions/associations are still the designated bargaining representative for the employee groups and there may be an obligation to negotiate over base wages with those employee groups. School districts can anticipate that unions/associations will now expect to bargain over all aspects of wages, hours and conditions of employment but school districts should resist that effort and wait on a final ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. City and county employers were not subject to re-certification elections until January 2014. There is still a possibility that re-certification elections will be required of public employee unions if the Wisconsin Supreme Court issues a decision prior to early January and finds the requirements of Act 10 to be constitutional. Legal counsel for the WERC has left that question open so no final decision is made regarding re-certification elections for city and county bargaining units. City and county employers should resist any request by the union to bargain over wages, hours and conditions of employment except for base wage increases for 2014. The current CPI limitation on an increase in base wages for 2014 is 1.66% (for Labor Agreements expiring on December 31, 2013). The contempt order by Judge Colas creates more confusion regarding the status of public sector employee unions but public sector employers should wait until this matter is decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court before agreeing to negotiate over any topic other than an increase in base wages. If you have questions regarding the above, please contact Dean R. 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.

Wisconsin Self-Storage Facilities: Protect Your Legal Interests

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Plaza Hotel & Suites, Eau Claire, WI Seminar Sponsors: Ruder Ware and Walters Buildings Wisconsin Self-Storage Facilities: Protect Your Legal Interests Attorneys Joseph Mirr and Derek Prestin This presentation is designed specifically for operators of self-service storage unit facilities. Attorneys Joe Mirr and Derek Prestin will explore whats included in the sections of the Wisconsin Statutes that apply to self-service storage facilities and address issues and answer questions faced by operators. The seminar will focus on the statutory requirements for rental agreements between lessees and self-storage operators. In addition, the presenters will provide guidance on how to protect the legal interests of self-storage owners and operators by outlining what belongs in rental agreements in addition to outlining penalties for non-compliance with applicable statutes

Powers & Authority of Local Elected Officials

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Powers & Authority of Local Elected Officials Attorney Dean Dietrich It is imperative that each elected official have a solid understanding of their duties and responsibilities, as well as limits on their authority. This presentation will cover expectations faced by each elected official and provide a clear outline of where the boundaries of responsibility and authority lie. Local Officials Code of Ethics Attorney Dean Dietrich and Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney The conduct of elected officials is subject to tremendous scrutiny today. This presentation will address the Conflict of Interest Law, the Code of Ethics for Local Officials, the limitations placed on local officials by the laws, and situations that could result in a violation of the law. Stoney Creek Inn, Rothschild, WI

Understanding the New Federal Health Care Laws

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Ramada Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI Seminar Sponsors WMC, Ruder Ware, Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Heart of Wisconsin Business Alliance, Portage County Business Council, Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce What Employers and Consultants Need to Know and Do Attorney Mary Ellen Schill Short High-Level Overview of the New Health Care Laws: A brief reminder of the "big picture" and a quick overview of some of the longer-term concerns for Wisconsin employers. Health Plan Changes In-Depth: A detailed discussion of the health plan changes required for 2010 and 2011. We will describe which changes are avoided if your plan is "grandfathered" and the tricky details of maintaining grandfathered status. Required Administrative Actions: The new law will require certain changes in how plans are administered. For example, many plans are now subject to a new "external review" process and employers must report the value of health plan coverage on Form W-2 starting in 2012. We will explore these new requirements and many others in detail and offer practical tips on the requirements that take effect in 2010 and 2011.

WACTAL 2011 Spring Conference Restore Your Business

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Seminar Sponsor: Wisconsin Auto Collision Technicians Topic: Business Succession Planning, Estate Planning & Asset Protection Planning The Plaza Hotel, Wausau, WI

Local Government Seminar - Fall 2008

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Stoney Creek Inn, Rothschild, WI Effective Discipline Procedures & Strategies for Public Sector Employees Attorney Dean Dietrich Issuance of discipline to employees is one of the most difficult responsibilities of supervisors and managers in public sector organizations. Employee discipline is governed by labor agreements and the due process requirements of public employment. Administrators, managers, and supervisors should be aware of the implications of due process under state and federal law and how to comply with those requirements when issuing discipline to a public employee. The presentation will provide background regarding the due process considerations when issuing discipline to public sector employees. Public Records Law Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney Local news media have aggressively used this law to seek records from local governments. This presentation will discuss the basics of the Wisconsin Public Records Law, including the obligations of each local official under the law.

Annual CWSHRM Human Resources & Labor Law Conference - 2015

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Stoney Creek Inn, Rothschild, WI Noncompete Agreements: Are They Ever Enforceable in Wisconsin? Attorney Sara Ackermann Noncompetes are never enforceable in Wisconsin - or are they? Can your company be sued if you hire an employee with a noncompete agreement? Should you sue a former employee who breached your company's noncompete agreement? During this session, we will answer these questions (and many more) and discuss recent Wisconsin court decisions in the area of restrictive covenants, including noncompete agreements, customer non-solicitation agreements, and confidentiality agreements. Are You Ready When OSHA Comes Knocking? Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney Watch out! OSHA is increasing its enforcement efforts and compliance audits. Violating its rules can result in substantial penalties. Are you ready when OSHA comes knocking at your door? This breakout session will review recently adopted OSHA measures and provide useful tips on handling a surprise visit from OSHA. HR Mistakes: Our Top 10 List Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney In employment litigation, so often it is the Human Resource professional who is "on trial". Every action taken (or not taken) by HR is likely to be scrutinized later by a judge or jury. In this session, we will provide our "top ten list" of the errors we frequently see made by HR professionals. This is an opportunity to learn from someone else's mistakes rather than you own!

Local Government Seminar - Fall 2008

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Stoney Creek Inn, Rothschild, WI Privacy Considerations in Local Government & Dealing with Technology as a Local Government Official Attorney Dean Dietrich The introduction of technology into governmental operations is a constantly evolving hot topic. Dealing with and using technology in local government situations is inevitable. This presentation addresses questions of privacy and compliance expectations for local government officials and employees of a local government unit. Open Meetings Law Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney Compliance with the Open Meetings Law is essential for all local government bodies. This presentation covers the basics of the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law and provides guidance to elected officials on compliance with the Law. This presentation will also discuss the requirements and valid reasons for meeting in closed session.

Annual Employment, Benefits, & Labor Relations Law Conference - 2008

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Stoney Creek Inn, Rothschild, WI Tips to Avoid Retaliation and Whistleblower Litigation Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney Retaliation claims are the fastest growing area of employment law litigation. It is becoming increasingly difficult to manage the workplace with the possibility of a retaliation claim lingering around every corner. This session is designed to help you and your business avoid these claims while maintaining the flexibility to run your business. Religious Discrimination - Faith in the Work Environment Attorney Dean Dietrich Several recent court decisions have addressed religious issues in the workplace. This program will give an update regarding recent decisions involving religious discrimination and the view taken by the courts on employer action to control proselytizing in the workplace. Attendees will receive a refresher on the religious discrimination laws. Alphabet Soup: FMLA/ADA/WC Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney The federal and state FMLA, disability, and workers' compensation laws continue to create compliance problems for employers. This presentation will touch on recent developments under these laws. Bring your thinking caps because case situations involving application of the laws will be presented for review and analysis by the audience. Attendees will be encouraged to participate and analyze the case situations and provide insight. Do you know it when you see it? Do's and Don'ts For Conducting Effective Harassment Investigations. Attorney Sara Ackermann When does an investigation need to be conducted? Who should be interviewed? What kind of notes should be taken? What kind of documentation should be created? What information should be shared with the alleged victim? In this breakout session, Attorney Ackermann will answer these questions and provide tips on how to conduct an effective harassment investigation. Legislative Roundtable Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations Practice Group Update on recent and pending state and federal employment, labor, and benefits legislation affecting employers.

Business Law Conference

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Stoney Creek Inn, Rothschild, WI, and The Florian Gardens, Eau Claire, WI Early Dispute Resolution: Don't Make a Federal Case Out of It Attorneys Joe Mirr and Kevin Wolf So, you think you are so right you don't need to negotiate? Think again. Do you know how trials work? How much trials cost? How long they take? Are you prepared to respond to discovery and provide witnesses for depositions? Do you have all the documents you need and are you certain all your witnesses will be perfect on the stand? The point? Evaluating your case involves more than knowing you're right. The key to strong negotiating is knowing where you're going before you start. This program will address these questions and more. Cover Your Bases Before the Sale is Made Attorneys Steve Lipowski and Jeremy Welch There are many important issues to consider when selling products whether to distributors, wholesalers, or ultimately to consumers. Prior to making the sale, there are several things you can do to both protect your interests and thoroughly understand the terms of the deal. This program will discuss considerations you should make prior to making a sale including how to price your products legally, how to make sure all parties have agreed to the actual terms of the sale, and how to limit your liability. Records Information Management: Best Practices Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney Many businesses are currently reviewing and updating their records and information management (RIM) programs. Doing so can improve operational efficiencies, ensure regulatory compliance, and minimize risk. It is important to comply with the revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the context of electronic discovery. This program will discuss the actions which businesses should take to assess the current status of their RIM programs, determine an overall RIM strategy, and develop revised RIM policies and record retention schedules.

Empowering Families With Special Needs Children

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

The Dudley Tower, Wausau, WI Preparing for the Future: Special Needs Trusts Attorney Melissa Kampmann When you love someone who has special needs, planning for that person's future can be an overwhelming task. This presentation is designed to inform and educate families with special needs children on the proper planning to provide for the future of the special needs child. Topics to be addressed include an explanation on the operation and benefits of a special needs trust, selecting a trustee of the special needs trust, selecting a guardian for a child with autism, and tips on how to include other children within your estate plan.

Local Government Seminar - Special Briefing

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

The Florian Gardens, Eau Claire, WI Lessons from the Trenches on Negotiating and Designing Employment and Severance Agreements Attorney Mary Ellen Schill Up until now, you have been able to avoid the "new deferred compensation plan rules," and "409A." But now your peaceful co-existence with the Internal Revenue Code is coming to an end. Find out how even the simplest of employment and severance agreements can have significant tax implications if the IRS rules on nonqualified deferred compensation plans aren't considered.

FMLA: Information for a Healthy Organization

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

The Jefferson Street Inn, Wausau, WI Basic (Refresher) FMLA Track Attorneys Dean Dietrich and Sara Ackermann Review of the basic Wisconsin and Federal FMLA provisions. Clarification of the employee eligibility and leave provisions. When can paid leave be used by an employee while on FMLA leave? What type of leave? Explanation of the federal military FMLA leave entitlements. What benefits is an employee entitled to while on FMLA leave? How do vacation, vacation accrual and seniority play into this? Basic Plus (Advanced) FMLA Track: Ruder Ware Alumni Attorney Update on all statutory and regulatory changes. Latest interpretations from the courts. What if an employee fails to follow absenteeism policies? Can you enforce them? Is a light-duty job consistent with FMLA rights? When employees have job reinstatement rights and when they do not. How to handle tricky benefits issues while employees are on leave and how to administer discipline. Tips on how to protect your organization from retaliation claims when disciplining or terminating employees who have used (or plan to use) FMLA leave. How to determine FMLA leave rights when spouses work for you. How the courts are answering tricky FMLA questions, complete with case studies.

Saving the Family Cabin/Preserving Family Land

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

The Old Schoolhouse Gallery, Star Lake, WI Seminar Sponsors: Ruder Ware and Northwoods Land Trust Saving the Family Cabin Attorney Melissa Kampmann A family cabin is a source of pleasure, family bonding, and rest and relaxation for many families. Many cabins have been enjoyed by families for several generations. In this presentation, you will learn about the legal arrangements that can be created to keep the cabin in the family over multiple generations in a manner that is fair for all members of the family. Preserving Family Land Bryan Pierce, Executive Director, Northwoods Land Trust Permanent protection of private shorelands, woodlands and wetlands can help to keep the northwoods the northwoods, while preserving family lands. The presentation will highlight the variety of voluntary conservation options available to private landowners in the northwoods. Since its inception in 2001, the Northwoods Land Trust has worked to protect over 5,000 acres of woodlands and wetlands, and over 25 miles of lake and river shorelands in a six-county area of northern Wisconsin.

FMLA Workshop

Posted on October 22, 2013, Authored by ,

Westwood Conference Center, Wausau, WI, and The Florian Gardens, Eau Claire, WI The New FMLA Regulations: Are You Ready? Attorney Sara Ackermann The revised federal FMLA regulations have been issued and are effective January 16, 2009. This presentation will review the most substantial revisions, their impact on employees, and the Department of Labor's new forms. Also reviewed will be the operating changes you will need to make to comply with the new regulations.