Employment & Labor

The loss of a job can cause a great deal of difficulty for a person and their family.  There are a variety of situations where an employee may be laid off, fired, or otherwise terminated, and in some cases, employers may violate the laws when terminating an employee.  Those who have been wrongfully terminated may be able to take legal action against their former employer, and they may recover compensation for the financial losses they have experienced.  In these
Continue Reading When Can an Employee Pursue Compensation for Wrongful Termination?

On Sept. 7th, Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, LLP, Axley Brynelson, LLP and myself filed a law suit in federal court to eliminate the SSDI eligibility ban that keeps disabled workers from receiving regular unemployment benefits. A press release explains:
The eligibility ban means that the plaintiffs in the class action and disabled workers like them are being treated differently from non-disabled workers in Wisconsin. Because of their disability, these SSDI recipients are presently ineligible for unemployment benefits. This different
Continue Reading Class Action Lawsuit to End the SSDI Eligibility Ban

The Magic Language:

The Federal Acquisition Regulation Council (FAR Council) was charged with drafting contractual language to require compliance with the guidance from the SAFER Task Force (Guidance). For a more in-depth discussion of the Guidance, see our blog post from September 24, BREAKING NEWS! Guidance Issued on Biden’s Contractor Vaccine Mandate!

The FAR Council issued a memorandum on October 1, 2021 in response to Executive Order 14042 (EO), including the contract language titled “Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols
Continue Reading Update for Federal Contractors: The Magic Language and Updated FAQs

On Friday, September 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) issued its COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors (Guidance) as directed by President Biden in an executive order (EO) on September 9, 2021. Click here to see the full Guidance (a helpful FAQ starts on page nine of the Guidance.)

Who: According to the Guidance, a “covered contract” is any contract or contract-like instrument that includes the clause specified in Section 2(a) of
Continue Reading Guidance Issued on Biden’s Contractor Vaccine Mandate

At the close of summer, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected an insurance company’s attempt to “double dip” and reduce its underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage responsibility to an insured based on a liability payment made to another insured.[1]
The case arose from an automobile accident that caused the death of Michael Shimeta and serious injuries to his passenger, Terry Scheer. The responsible tortfeasor’s liability insurance policy provided for a $250,000 per-person limit and a $500,000 per-accident limit. Because the
Continue Reading Wisconsin Court of Appeals Rejects Attempted Underinsured Motorist Double Dip

COVID-19 has taken a great toll on employees and workplaces. Of primary concern for employers is the safety and health of employees. Up until June 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had not provided formal guidance on dealing with COVID-19 in the workplace.In June 2021, OSHA published
Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace, for
all employers outside of the health care industry. Since then,
Continue Reading Six Recommendations: OSHA’s Updated COVID-19 Guidance

On Thursday, September 9, 2021, President Biden announced his new COVID-19 plan entitled “Path out of the Pandemic” (Plan). While this Plan includes several provisions, this e-alert highlights a few of those of most interest to employers:

  • OSHA was directed to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  This ETS will require private sector employers with at least 100 employees to ensure that their workforces are fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID at least weekly. Employers will be required

Continue Reading Biden Orders Vaccine Mandates for Certain Employers

The US Dep’t of Labor has announced the beginning of an effort to modernize unemployment claim-filing to make the process both more equitable and less susceptible to fraud.

This effort is centered around the creation of “tiger” teams that are “composed of experts across many disciplines including fraud specialists, equity and customer service experience specialists, UI program specialists, behavioral insights specialists, business intelligence analysts, computer systems engineers/architects and project managers.” These teams will not only work on hardening a
Continue Reading Tiger Teams and Unemployment Reform Coming to Wisconsin

A few weeks ago there were media reports about legislators circulating a bill to allow employees who quit or are discharged for refusing a vaccine to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Well, they actually did it. Meet SB 547. The bill creates a host of exemptions for those workers who refuse vaccines and lose their jobs as a result to qualify for unemployment benefits. The legislators even included a provision automatically to waive charges to employer accounts for unemployment
Continue Reading No vaccine unemployment bill introduced

Non-compete agreements are common between employers and employees (“employment covenants”), and between buyers and sellers of businesses (“transaction covenants”). Section 103.465 of the Wisconsin Statutes governs employment covenants and requires employers only require restrictions that are reasonably necessary for the protection of the employer. To quote from the statute, “Any covenant . . . , imposing an unreasonable restraint is illegal, void and unenforceable even as to any part of the covenant or performance that would be a reasonable
Continue Reading Covenants Not to Compete in Employment Versus Business Transactions

Recently, there have been numerous developments pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few key issues Wisconsin employers should be aware of related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food and Drug Administration Approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Previously, all COVID-19 vaccinations were approved under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process. The EUA process allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products
Continue Reading COVID-19 Updates for Wisconsin Employers: Vaccine Approval, Mask Mandates and OSHA Guidance

At the August 17th Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Advisory Council meeting, there was action on some of the Department proposals.

After coming out of caucus, council members agreed to support Department proposals D21-01 through D21-08, D21-11 (work share modifications), and D21-15 (eliminating unemployment taxes for summer camps and excluding camp counselors who are not students from covered employment).

Full details on D21-11 and D21-15 are available in this previous post.

The support for D21-01
Continue Reading Update on Department of Workforce Development Advisory Council’s August Meeting

The newly-appointed General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Jennifer Abruzzo, has issued a memorandum to NLRB regional offices saying that she intends to “reexamine” positions taken by her predecessors and the Trump Era Board.

During the Trump Administration, the NLRB overruled a number of legal precedents while taking a more employer-friendly stance.  The General Counsel has a great deal of influence over policy and legal interpretation, and can issue guidance and advice memos outlining her office’s
Continue Reading Will Employee Handbooks Need To Be Changed Again?

The Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council has been meeting in 2021 over how to reform unemployment in Wisconsin.

To date, a Department summary and the actual written comments from the November 2020 public hearing were reported to council members at the 21 January 2021 council meeting. There has yet to be any discussion or even acknowledgment by council members of the concerns raised at that public hearing.

And, the Department has re-presented its proposals from 2019 and new proposals for
Continue Reading Labor and Management Proposals to “Reform” Unemployment in 2021

At SB Law, clients regularly contact us stating that they want to hire an “independent contractor” to assist them in their business thinking that is the safest and most efficient relationship to have with their new hire.  When considering whether a person will qualify as an independent contractor or will be deemed an employee, it is crucial to understand that such determination is solely based upon the facts and circumstances of each particular situation, and a person is not
Continue Reading Business Owners Beware:  Is Your New Hire an Independent Contractor or Employee?

MEUC (Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation) benefits have been over-shadowed by PUA, PEUC, and PUC benefits. But, many self-employed individuals who also engage in regular wage work may be eligible for this benefit that originated with the Continued Assistance Act.

MEUC benefits pay an additional $100 per week from the week ending 1/2/2021 thru the week ending 9/4/2021. You are eligible for MEUC benefits if:

  • you receive regular unemployment benefits or PEUC benefits (receiving PUA benefits would mean that

Continue Reading Apply for MEUC benefits before the Sept. 4th deadline