Employment & Labor

Nationwide, restaurants and bars felt financial strain over the past two years. With measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many food and beverage businesses were subject to restrictions on the use of their in-person dining rooms. In a recent case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found that COVID-19 related business interruption losses were not recoverable under the insured’s property insurance policies. The Court found that COVID-19 restrictions were not direct physical losses, triggering a claim under a
Continue Reading Wisconsin Joins the Majority: Profit Losses Due to COVID-19 Not Insured

Over the last several years, the Wisconsin Legislature, in the wake of the 2018 Joint Legislative Council Study Committee on Child Placement and Support, several new legislative initiatives were introduced.  The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the passage of many of these bills, but several passed in the 2020-2021 Legislative Session.  Many of these statutes are procedures, codifying and streamlining practice for attorneys, litigants and the Courts, but many are also substantive law changes.  This is Part I of a three-part
Continue Reading Statutory Updates in Family Law, Part I

Unemployment rates are down – way down. In April 2020, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 14.1%1 and the U.S. unemployment rate was 14.7%.2 In May 2022, Wisconsin’s rate was 2.8%, a record low, while the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6%.3

The Department of Workforce Development’s processing of unemployment claims today shows vast improvement as well. A year ago, it was not uncommon for the average amount of days between an appeal of an adjudicator’s determination to
Continue Reading Unemployment Update: The Pandemic and Beyond

First of all, when we say “leave” we are referring to leave as a general term of not being required to be at work. So, leave is an umbrella term that refers to vacation time, sick time, personal time,  PTO and whatever other creative term may be used to refer to time away from work.

A common misconception is that all employers are required to provide leave to their employees. However, whether or not an employer is required to
Continue Reading Do I need to provide leave to my employees?

A recent court decision reminds employers that they may be liable for interference with employee rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) even if they do not actually deny a request for leave. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit—which oversees Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana—held in Ziccarelli v. Dart that threatening to discipline an employee for taking leave qualifies as FMLA interference.

Ziccarelli worked for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office as a correctional officer. From
Continue Reading Federal Court: Employer’s Discouragement of FMLA Leave Constitutes Unlawful Interference

Many individuals are familiar with online video games, such as FIFA, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Last of Us that permit players to play and communicate with others online while seated at their Xbox or PlayStation consoles.

Augmented Realty (AR) games, such as Pokémon-GO, superimpose a digital setting into the players’ own real environment, thereby incorporating virtual components into the real world and increasing the level of physical activity.

With the advent of virtual reality (VR) games, increasing numbers of players
Continue Reading ‘That’s So Meta:’ Workplace Harassment Issues in a Virtual World

Public bodies deal with many of the same legal issues as private enterprises—plus a host of unique risks that arise because they are public actors. Public bodies therefore must take care to ensure that they are not violating the protected constitutional rights of their citizens, employees, contractors, or (in the case of schools) students. A new iteration of constitutional claims against public bodies arose in spring 2020, with colleges closing their campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Rejects Claim that University’s Refusal to Refund Fees During COVID Closures Amounts to Constitutional Violation

Recently, we have been fielding calls from clients regarding “remote” Form I-9 verification. The current rule is that employers can ONLY verify I-9 forms remotely for employees who are remote due to COVID -19. For the curious, read our FAQ below:

1. What was the rule pre-COVID?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has ALWAYS required an employer to verify Form I-9 documents in-person. Even for that salesperson you hired out in California—either they had to fly to headquarters
Continue Reading Are You Keeping an Eye on Your Form I-9?

In a politically charged era where activism is considered noble, HR managers are confronting new challenges in the workplace in an attempt to find balance between the expression of disparate views while maintaining a productive and cohesive workplace.
Just Another Day at the Office
IT specialist Peter is a devout Catholic. His cubicle displays a Papal flag and other religious items. Several pro-life slogans are also posted on its walls. Sandra is a purchasing specialist who is passionate about
Continue Reading Managing Activism in the Workplace

On April 29, 2022, the IRS announced the Health Savings Account limits for 2023.  With respect to contribution limits, the limits are higher than the ones for 2022 and the required deductible and out-of-pocket maximums have increased as well.  As a reminder, these inflation adjusted amounts are effective for calendar year 2023

HSA/HDHP Requirement
Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Limit on HSA Contributions – Self-only HDHP

2022 – $3,650

2023 – $3,850

Limit on HSA Contributions – Family HDHP

2022 – $7,300
Continue Reading 2023 HSA Limits Are Announced

Recently, it seems like the stars have aligned in favor of unions. When President Biden was elected in 2020, a part of his workplace initiatives included the promotion of collective bargaining and the protection of employees’ rights to join and form unions. Then, a global pandemic struck, which made many employees reconsider and question their relationships with their workplaces and employers. In February 2022, the White House Task Force on Worker Organization and Empowerment released a report promoting the
Continue Reading Union Organization Is On the Rise

CAFA Background and Exceptions

On March 16, 2022, the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion in Schutte v. Coix Health, resolving an open question about the breadth of the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). 28 USC § 1711 et seq. Congress enacted CAFA in 2005 to expand the availability of federal courts to class action defendants; the Act loosens the requirements for defendants seeking to remove to federal court cases that have been filed in state court as putative class
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Resolves Open Question Under Class Action Fairness Act

On April 8, 2022, Governor Evers signed into law 2021 Wisconsin Act 232 (The Act). The Act, sponsored by the bipartisan House Labor and Integrated Employment Committee, was passed to increase weekly permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits in addition to changing the way that the average weekly wage (AWW) for part-time employees is calculated.

Wisconsin has not raised the weekly PPD benefit rate since 2017. The Act changes the weekly PPD benefit to $415.00 for injuries occurring on or
Continue Reading New Wisconsin Law Affects Worker’s Compensation Benefits

Now that Spring is here, many of us who operate businesses may be turning our attention to hiring summer interns. Organizations may hire interns or student trainees year round as well. Regardless of when you take on interns or student trainees, you should be aware of a common legal pitfall in hiring such individuals. That common legal pitfall is whether the intern or trainee must be paid for their services. There are several legal sources to help answer that
Continue Reading Must Employers Pay Student Interns?

By: Kristofor Hanson

In a new memorandum published today, National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, stated aloud what many had thought would be a goal of the newly appointed chief lawyer for the agency, challenging an employer’s ability to require employees to attend meetings during a union organizing campaign.

In so doing, Abruzzo has asked the Board to reconsider its precedent and find that mandatory meetings – often referred to as “captive audience” meetings –
Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Announces Challenge to Employer Rights During Union Organizing Campaigns

The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) generally prohibits an employer from discriminating against an applicant based on conviction record, unless the circumstances of that record “substantially relate” to the circumstances of the particular job opening. For many years, the Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) took the position that domestic violence crimes generally do not substantially relate to any job in the workplace, because such crimes are committed in a domestic setting and typically involve violence only towards
Continue Reading In Making Hiring Decisions, Wisconsin Employers May Consider Convictions for Crimes of Domestic Violence