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Employment

  • 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 …   

  • Treat Employees the Same - Avoid Discrimination Claim

    Posted on October 21, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    A recent decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (governing Wisconsin) accents the importance of an employer treating employees the same especially in the event of disciplinary action issued to an employee. In this decision, the employer terminated a Hispanic employee but only reprimanded a non-Hispanic employee for conduct in violation …   

  • Government Paralysis - Potential Liability Still Exists

    Posted on October 1, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, Filed under Employment

    The news today talks about "government paralysis" and the likelihood that government will not re-focus for several weeks until everything is decided regarding the continuing resolution debate and the debt limit debate. A caution to employers however, that the government paralysis does not mean that you are protected from potential liability for vio…   

  • Obesity as a Protected Category?

    Posted on September 18, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, 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 covere…   

  • Federal Court Upholds NLRB Approval of Mini-Bargaining Unit

    Posted on September 3, 2013, Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys, 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 …