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St. Charles, IL Chicago, IL Office Davenport, IA Office Minneapolis, MN Office Milwaukee, WI Office
St. Charles, IL Chicago, IL Office Davenport, IA Office Minneapolis, MN Office Milwaukee, WI Office

September 2016 Archives

Minneapolis Office of Wessels Sherman is Piling Up Victories for Our Clients in 2016

Believe it or not, we here at Wessels Sherman are reluctant to toot our own horn the way others in our profession are known to do. However, a recent spate of victories by our Minneapolis office on behalf of some very happy clients - in arbitration, in court, and before federal and state agencies in Minnesota and Wisconsin - seems like a good excuse to brag a bit. Besides, it is impossible to keep the many kudos I've been getting lately from so many clients from going to my head just a little, such that I feel compelled to share with our readers a few of the recent wins our Minneapolis office has achieved with our clients.

Class Action Waiver Clauses in Arbitration Agreements Face Further Scrutiny

Arbitration agreements are a common tool many employers use as an alternative to going to court to resolve disputes with their employees. Arbitration has the potential to be a faster, cheaper, and more private way to resolve disputes, with more finality. One of the biggest advantages many employers see in arbitration is the ability to resolve disputes individually rather than as part of a class action. However, the NLRB has determined that, in its opinion, these waivers violate employees' right under federal labor law to engage in "concerted activities" for their "mutual aid or protection." This has caused uncertainty as to the legality of such class action waivers in arbitration agreements in the employment arena.

DOL Remains in the Spotlight, Settling Wage and Hour Claims Brought by Its Own Employees and Fighting Opposition to its Controversial New Overtime Rule

September 2016

The Big 3: Three Major Takeaways from the EEOC's New Guidance on Retaliation Claims

A lot has changed since the EEOC last updated its stance on retaliation claims 18 years ago. Most notably, retaliation claims have skyrocketed. In fact, the number of retaliation claims filed with the EEOC has increased 119% since 1998. Retaliation claims are so common that they accounted for nearly 45% of all EEOC charges filed in 2015. It is against this backdrop that the EEOC issued its most recent enforcement guidance on retaliation. Here are three big takeaways for employers:

Provisions of Non-Compete Law Apply to No-Solicitation of Employees Restraints

It is common, if not standard, for most non-compete agreements to contain a clause that prohibits the covered employee from soliciting current employees to terminate their employment in order to accept employment with a competitor. In essence, it prohibits the departing employee from raiding his/her former employer's valued employees. Until recently, the courts have never determined whether such constraints are subject to the requirements of Wis. Stat. § 103.465, which governs the enforceability of non-compete agreements. It now has, and they are.

ACA FAQ of the Month: Should I Appeal a Health Insurance Marketplace Notice?

You may have already received a notice from the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS"), notifying you that one or more of your employees enrolled in health coverage through the state health exchange. Significantly, although employers can appeal the notice, the notice is not a penalty - penalties will be assessed by the Internal Revenue Service in 2017. That being said, the notice could potentially lead to penalties, and should be appealed ... sometimes. So, how do you know whether you should to appeal a notice?

More Aggressive Action By USDOL Against Classifying Workers As Independent Contractors

NEW U.S. DOL WEBPAGE ABOUT MISCLASSIFICATION MYTHS: Government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor ("U.S. DOL") continue to try to reign in companies that use independent contractors (and make it more high-risk for these companies to do so). In this spirit, the U.S. DOL recently established a controversial new page on its website called "Myths about Misclassification."

Employees Gambling At Work?

If you are a sports fan, professional or collegiate, you know what time of the year it is - the NFL started on September 8, 2016 with Carolina vs. Denver; in a few weeks, Major League Baseball will start its Playoff Season with a trip to the World Series; College Football is in full force and the National Hockey League will begin shortly. What does this mean to an Employer? An Employer with a "blind eye to sports" risks running into a lot of potential problems and issues with its Employee complement.

Is the Prevailing Wage Act Under Attack?

As you may recall from my previous articles, the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act requires employers to pay the prevailing wage rate to employees employed in any public works. Recently, many companies have received surveys from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) asking what each company pays its workers for prevailing wage and non-prevailing wage work. Additionally, for years, IDOL investigations into violations of the Act increased and became commonplace. But it appears that such investigations have tapered off to an almost non-existent state. So what is going on with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act? It appears that the Prevailing Wage Act is under attack and certain developments may provide an explanation why.

Job Opening - Associate Attorney - Minneapolis Office

Regional Management-side Labor and Employment Law Firm seeks an Associate Attorney with a minimum of 2 years of increasingly responsible experience, for its Minneapolis office. Candidates should have excellent interpersonal, research and writing skills, a strong academic background and ability to work as part of a team. Experience in labor law and/or complex employment litigation a plus. Send resumes to jekier@wesselssherman.com.

Illinois Supreme Court Finds that IDES was Mistaken in Denying Unemployment Benefits

In this case, American Airlines looks like a harsh and unreasonable employer. The Claimant was an American Airlines employee who was fired by American Airlines for merely helping a passenger obtain a seating upgrade and also giving the passenger some champagne for the flight.

End of Summer Labor Law Checklist

1. Defunct Labor Contract? Construction industry employers are particularly vulnerable to this issue. It may not be defunct! A typical fact pattern is that years ago the contractor signed an assent agreement which typically has language binding them to successor agreements. Later, the company assumed that the contract was stale because they had employed no one in this trade for some time. But, still later big problems appeared when the union resurrected the contract and made various claims of violations. Contact us to get contracts like this properly cancelled.

Legislative Update: Illinois Mandates Child Bereavement Leave

The death of a child is a very traumatic event for a parent. The grieving process is a difficult one. Federal law does not provide a leave of absence for this purpose. Most employers only provide employees a three day period for bereavement/funeral leave for the death of a child.

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