Employment & Labor

On Feb. 5, 2024, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Region 1 director in Trustees of Dartmouth College,1 found that members of the college’s men’s basketball team qualify as “employees” under Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The Board in 2015 considered another case regarding collegiate-level student athletes’ employment status: Northwestern University.2 In this case, the Board declined to assert jurisdiction and did not explicitly rule whether student athletes were “employees” under the
Continue Reading ‘Seismic’: NLRB Rules Dartmouth Men’s Basketball Players are Employees

As many labor attorneys predicted, 2023 was a huge year for labor organizations in the U.S. We saw a continued uptick in union organizing campaigns and high profile strikes in the health care, auto, and film industries.

In 2023, we saw several remarkable wins at the bargaining table for unions, and significant legal decisions favoring organized labor from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Strikes and Organizing Campaigns
Health care organizations have not been immune to the rise of
Continue Reading The Rise of Labor in Health Care: Labor Law Developments in 2023

Phantom stock plans are a deferred compensation tool companies can use to attract, motivate, and retain talented employees. These plans (also known by many other names, i.e., shadow stock plans, phantom equity plans, synthetic equity programs, etc.) offer employees some of the benefits of stock ownership without transferring company equity. While phantom stock plans bring many advantages, employers must avoid pitfalls and ensure smooth administration, especially when considering future change-of-ownership transactions.

While phantom stock plans offer a unique compensation
Continue Reading Phantom Stock 101: A Primer on Invisible Equity

Federal laws place employers in a challenging position, requiring them to navigate between compliance with laws designed to prevent the employment of persons not eligible to work in the United States and laws punishing discrimination and document abuse. Non-compliance can lead to lawsuits, fines, and potentially even criminal prosecution. While all employers would benefit from consulting a knowledgeable attorney to establish proper employment verification procedures and resolve uncertainties, even seasoned HR professionals acquainted with current best practices should consider
Continue Reading Navigating Employment Verification Challenges: When to Seek Tailored Legal Advice

The Paid Leave for All Workers Act has gone into effect this year. If you are an employer, this new law may affect your workforce and policies around paid leave. Starting January 1, 2024, Illinois has become a trailblazer by implementing the Paid Leave for All Workers Act, signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker. Here we’ll dive into the key aspects of this groundbreaking legislation and what employers need to know for a seamless transition.
The Paid Leave
Continue Reading The Paid Leave for All Workers Act in Illinois

In late 2022 and early 2023, a few folks started contacting me about being disqualified or having to repay unemployment benefits they received during the Covid-19 pandemic because of their participation in lab testing studies.

Then at the July 2023 Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council meeting, a coalition of lab testing companies and Rep. Gundrum asked the council to support a change in the law to exempt lab testing as covered employment. According to the minutes of that meeting:
Continue Reading Lab Test Subjects as Employees

Employees who report or oppose actual or suspected legal or regulatory violations enjoy retaliation protections that are
spread across more than 50 federal statutes. Depending on the nature of the violation and other factors, these whistleblower protections vary widely in terms of their filing deadlines, available remedies, and method of enforcement. Potential venues for bringing a whistleblower claim include:

  • state and federal courts;
  • the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC);
  • the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB); and
  • federal offices

Continue Reading 3 Tips for Filing a Claim with OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program

Recently the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC), which includes representatives from both Labor and Management, voted to approve two separate bills that include potentially significant changes to the Worker’s Compensation Act of Wisconsin (Chapter 102), including the administration of the Act.

The primary objectives of the proposed provisions are split between the two bills so as to increase the chances that at least some of the provisions are eventually adopted and signed into law.

I.  First Proposed Bill
Continue Reading Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council Calls for Department of Hearings and Appeals to End ‘Hold Open’ Practice

Workplace injuries not only cause physical pain but can also take a significant toll on mental health. The emotional aftermath of an injury can be overwhelming, often leaving individuals grappling with various challenges.

People should address both the physical and emotional aspects of recovery.
Uncertainty and anxiety
One issue individuals face after a workplace injury is uncertainty surrounding their future. The sudden shift from a routine, physically demanding job to potentially prolonged periods of rest can cause anxiety. Concerns
Continue Reading How can you struggle with mental health after an injury at work?

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2024 optional standard mileage rates today for computing the deductible cost of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes.  The most notable change is the slight per mile increase for businesses.

Effective January 1, 2024, the optional standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 67 cents per mile driven for business use.  This is a slight increase from the rate

  • Continue Reading IRS Releases Mileage Rates for 2024

    Workplace harassment continues to loom large in the employment law space.

    In FY2018 through FY2022, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statistics show that more than one-third of charges filed with the agency alleged unlawful harassment.

    The EEOC’s latest guidance document regarding unlawful harassment was published in 1999.1Since that time, the practical and legal landscape has evolved dramatically: the #MeToo Movement brought awareness to sexual harassment and sexual violence, the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock2 clarified that
    Continue Reading EEOC’s Proposed New Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace

    Attorney Doug Poland to Present on Updates in Election Administration and Access to Voting at the Wisconsin State Bar
    On Thursday, December 7, Attorney Doug Poland will present on recent updates in election administration and access to voting at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Annual Constitutional Law Symposium 2023. The presentation is part of a day-long symposium for members and non-members of the State Bar.
    Doug is a partner in Stafford Rosenbaum’s Madison office. His practice focuses on election
    Continue Reading Attorney Douglas Poland Presents at State Bar of Wisconsin’s Annual Constitutional Law Symposium

    The court takes up a pair of intriguing civil cases on its December oral argument calendar. One asks whether Amazon’s gig delivery drivers are independent contractors or employees, and the other challenges a municipality’s power to use eminent domain to acquire land for sidewalks.
    Cases Decided
    There were no new decisions issued during November.
    Up for Review
    Amazon Logistics, Inc. v. LIRC, No. 2022AP13


    Oral Argument: December 19

    Are Amazon “delivery partners” independent contractors or employees? According
    Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Update: December 2023

    Attorney Tiffany Highstrom Presents to Guardians Ad Litem & Family Law Practitioners
    On December 7, from 12:00-1:00 PM, Attorney Tiffany Highstrom will lead and present on a webinar panel sponsored and hosted by the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin (CFLCW). Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls: A Webinar for GALs & Family Law Practitioners will cover the recent Wisconsin Ethics Opinion EF-23-02 relative to Guardian ad Litem Conflicts and Informed Consent, Confidentiality and other Obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct,
    Continue Reading Attorney Tiffany Highstrom to Present on Ethics for GALs & Family Law Practitioners

    Employment disputes can arise in various situations, ranging from wrongful termination and discrimination to wage and hour violations. When these conflicts cannot be resolved through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods, business litigation may be necessary to seek a resolution. Employers or employees who are involved in these types of disputes can work with an attorney who has experience in these types of cases to determine their legal options and make sure their rights will be protected.

    The Role
    Continue Reading When Can Litigation Be Used to Resolve Employment Disputes?

    Attorney Jeff Mandell Receives Wisconsin and Nationwide Attention on Redistricting and Wisconsin Legislative Maps
    Stafford Rosenbaum Partner Jeff Mandell made an appearance on the November 19, 2023 edition of UpFront, a Wisconsin TV broadcast produced by ABC on Sunday mornings. He is part of the counsel team leading oral arguments before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on November 21 to argue that the state’s legislative maps violate state constitutional standards and to request redistricting in time for the 2024 elections.
    Continue Reading Attorney Jeff Mandell in the Media Spotlight Surrounding Wisconsin Redistricting