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Employment

  • Happy New Year (?)

    Posted on December 31, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    This is the time of year that we say "thank you" and "best wishes" to all. On behalf of Ruder Ware, I want to thank all of our clients for the confidence they have shown in our representation. I also want to thank all of the human resource professionals who have spent the year working hard to ensure the success of their organizations and helping em…   

  • NLRB's New Top Attorney Threatens to Overturn Employer-Friendly E-Mail Decision

    Posted on December 18, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    Last week, the NLRB's (Board) newly-confirmed top lawyer, Richard Griffin, publicly commented that if given an opportunity (in other words, if the right case came along), he would attempt to overturn the employer-friendly, Bush-Era Board decision upholding an employer's right to prohibit employee use of company e-mail systems for union solicitation…   

  • Arbitrate Your Employment Disputes?

    Posted on December 17, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    A recent decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling from the NLRB and held that an agreement between an employer and employee that provided for arbitration of any disputes (including class-action claims) was valid and did not violate the employees right to pursue collective action to complain about an issue in the workplace…   

  • Are Quickie Elections Coming in 2014?

    Posted on December 16, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    A recent action by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has signaled that a new rule on "quickie" elections will be up for debate (and likely passage) in 2014. Several days ago, the NLRB voluntarily dismissed the appeal of a federal District Court decision which held that the Board's expedited representation election process was invalid becaus…   

  • Unemployment Compensation Law Changes - Happy New Year?

    Posted on December 9, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    Wisconsin employers will receive some relief from the employee-focused unemployment compensation law in Wisconsin after January 1. The Wisconsin Legislature has passed a new law which makes a number of changes to the unemployment compensation law affecting Wisconsin employers. A number of the changes relate to the definition of misconduct which wil…   

  • I Swear It Can Be Harassment: Workplace Profanity

    Posted on December 6, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    A recent federal court lawsuit out of the State of Oregon serves as a great reminder that workplace profanity can be used as evidence to support a so-called "hostile work environment" harassment claim under certain circumstances. The case is Griffin v. City of Portland. In Griffin, the plaintiff/employee, who characterized herself as a "devout Chri…   

  • Your Mileage May Vary - IRS Issues 2014 Mileage Rates

    Posted on December 6, 2013, Authored by Mary Ellen Schill
    Mary Ellen Schill
    Attorney
    Wausau Office
    , Filed under Employment

    This afternoon the IRS issued the standard mileage rates for determining the deductible cost for operating automobiles for various purposes (business, medical, charitable) for 2014. Specifics can be found here. Clearly the IRS has noticed the decline in the cost of gasoline at the pump, as the mileage rates for business and medical purposes have de…   

  • Indefinite Leave As Reasonable Accommodation?

    Posted on December 4, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    Deciding what to do when an employee says she cannot return to work because of a medical condition, even after exhausting all FMLA leave, is one of the most difficult questions faced by an employer, especially in Wisconsin. I have written before about the need for a Wisconsin employer to consider the possibility of additional time off without pay a…   

  • Flu Shots - Required or Prohibited

    Posted on November 27, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    Many states have adopted laws that require mandatory influenza (flu) vaccinations for certain health care professions. A recent hearing on Wisconsin Assembly Bill 247 would take the opposite direction. This proposed legislation would prohibit employers (including health care employers) from taking adverse employment action against an employee who r…   

  • Being At Work Is An Essential Job Function

    Posted on November 18, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    A colleague wrote recently that the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that when determining whether an employee is disabled or not because the employee cannot perform the essential functions of the job, the key document to be considered by the Court is the job description prepared by an employer to describe the essential functions of a …   

  • Caution - Duty To Accommodate May Be Expanded

    Posted on November 13, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    A recent decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has opened the door to consideration of a duty to accommodate under the Americans With Disabilities Act that goes beyond the need to accommodate an employee with assistance to perform the essential functions of the employee's job. In this decision, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held that su…   

  • Is it Only a Matter of Time Before LGBT Individuals Have Federal Employment Protection??

    Remember Jack Tripper? Pretending to be gay to stay in the coveted apartment with Chrissy and Janet? Oh, the ruse Jack played for years with multiple landlords who never quite caught on to Jack's true identity. In the employment setting, the opposite is true. Employees are more likely to hide their gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender identity and pre…   

  • Halloween Trick, or Treat? IRS Issues 2014 Limits for Qualified Plans

    Posted on November 1, 2013, Authored by Mary Ellen Schill
    Mary Ellen Schill
    Attorney
    Wausau Office
    , Filed under Employment

    On October 31 the IRS announced the various contribution and benefit limits applicable to qualified retirement plans, for 2014. Here's a link to our recent update which includes a handy chart. We've become accustomed to getting these annual announcements in mid-October, but as with a lot of other IRS guidance, the government shutdown did have an ef…   

  • "I always feel like somebody's watching me."

    Recently a client's Human Resources Manager complained to me that there was "nothing" the company could do to prevent an employee from "faking a migraine" when she felt like taking off in the middle of the day. This particular employee was certified for intermittent leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, but the same question could arise had the…   

  • 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 …