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March 2018 Archives

Expunged Conviction Not A "Conviction" Under WFEA

HR professionals that conduct criminal background checks on prospective employees are well aware of (or should be) the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act's prohibition against discrimination on the basis of an individual's arrest or conviction record. Under the WFEA, an employer may not discriminate against an employee or prospective employee on the basis of a pending arrest or conviction, unless the circumstances of the arrest/conviction are substantially related to the circumstances of the proposed employment. Easy enough? Not really.

Temporary Employees May Sue Host Employers for Injuries

In a stunning recent decision, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that temporary employees who are injured/killed while performing services for their host employer have the right to choose between the receipt of workers' compensation benefits under the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Act or the pursuit of a personal injury claim against the host employer. Under the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Act, temporary employees who are injured while performing services for their host employer and "make a claim" for worker's compensation benefits are precluded from maintaining an action in tort against the employer that compensates the temporary agency for their services (i.e., the "host" employer). Thus, if the employee makes a claim for worker's compensation benefits against the temporary agency, he/she may not pursue a personal injury claim against the employer for which it was performing services when injured. But what if the employee never "makes a claim for compensation" against the temporary employer, and chooses instead to sue the host employer?

Unions Continue to Win Significant Percentage of Representation Elections in 2017

According to a report just issued by Labor Relations Institute (LRI), unions won 71% of the representation elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in 2017. This is consistent with union success rates in recent years and has resulted in over 54,000 newly organized union members last year. Meanwhile, unions lost approximately 4,000 members through decertification elections, where union members voted to oust union representatives. The appearance of a net gain of 50,000 new union members is offset by the fact that unions are filing far fewer petitions for elections these days.

Union Organizing--"This Is An Emergency!"

Nancy Joerg heard me talking on the phone with a client the other day. She liked the advice and asked me to write a commentary for our next Wessels Sherman Client Alert. The subject that I was discussing with a company president was one that doesn't get much attention these days-union organizing.

Non-Compete Statute Applies To No-Raiding Provisions

The enforcement of non-compete agreements in Wisconsin is governed by the provisions of Wis. Stat. § 103.466, which sets forth five requirements that must be met in order for the restriction to be enforceable. Over the years, the courts have found that these restrictions applied not just to traditional non-compete agreements, but also to agreements not to solicit customers, non-disclosure/confidentiality agreements, and no-hire agreements between two employers. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently held that the restrictions found in § 103.465 also apply to "no-raiding" covenants, which restrict former employees from soliciting or "poaching" employees of their former employer.

Employers Beware of Using "Comp Time" In Lieu of Paying Overtime!

There is a popular (and incorrect!) belief that all employers can provide employees compensatory time off in lieu of paying overtime ("comp time"). While public employers can use compensatory time in lieu of paying overtime (with certain limitations), private employers who provide their employees with compensatory time off will mostly find themselves caught in a real legal snafu.

Don't Have a Neutral Absenteeism Policy: Warning to Employers!

Some Illinois employers may have neutral absenteeism policies that "administratively terminate" any employee who has failed to return to work from a medical leave of absence after a stated period of time such as one year or some other period of time set by the company.

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