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Employment

  • Light Duty Only for Work-Related Injuries  Pregnancy Discrimination?

    Posted on January 22, 2014, Authored by Dean R. Dietrich, Filed under Employment

    Many employers have adopted a light duty policy that only applies for an employee that suffers an on-the-job injury. The theory is to allow light duty for work-related injuries in order to encourage an injured employee to return to regular duty. Such a policy of only giving light duty to work-related injured employees has often been questioned as b…   

  • Minnesota Joins Other States in Protecting Applicant Information

    Posted on January 13, 2014, Authored by Dean R. Dietrich, Filed under Employment

    As of January 1, 2014, employers in Minnesota may not ask an employee for information about their criminal background in the employment application process. This is known as "Ban-the-Box" law which has been passed in seven states, and similar laws are pending in 26 other states. The law prohibits employers from having a question on their employment…   

  • Asking Questions of a Disabled Applicant

    Posted on January 8, 2014, Authored by Dean R. Dietrich, Filed under Employment

    One of the most challenging situations faced by an employer is deciding whether or not to question an applicant about their condition when it is obvious the applicant suffers from some type of disabling condition (i.e. applicant arrives in a wheelchair or uses crutches). Employers are afraid to ask questions that could be used to support a claim th…   

  • Traveling to Work - New Employer Liability

    Posted on January 6, 2014, Authored by Dean R. Dietrich, Filed under Employment

    Employers understand they may be liable for employee injuries that arise while an employee is reporting to work, such as an automobile accident on the way to work or an injury when walking into the company premises from the parking lot. These potential areas of liability arise from the worker's compensation statute in the state of Wisconsin that pr…   

  • Happy New Year (?)

    Posted on December 31, 2013, Authored by Dean R. Dietrich, 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 Dean R. Dietrich, 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 Dean R. Dietrich, 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 Dean R. Dietrich, 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, 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 Dean R. Dietrich, 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 Dean R. Dietrich, 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 Dean R. Dietrich, 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 Dean R. Dietrich, 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…