Stafford Rosenbaum

Though we serve clients around the United States and all over the world, we trace our roots to our current hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, in 1879. Generations and partners have come and gone, but what remains — and will always remain — is our commitment to providing practical legal solutions and our adherence to the highest standards of legal ethics and professionalism. Whether your legal concerns lie in Wisconsin, out of the state, or in any country around the world, you can always turn to us.

We harness the collective experience of our business attorneys and litigators to solve legal needs arising in the areas of antitrust and trade, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, business law, dealership and franchise law, employment and labor law, environmental law, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and alternative dispute resolution.

We serve as general counsel or act as special counsel for more than 100 Wisconsin local governmental entities advising in areas such as public utility, government and administration, employment and labor law, and environmental law.

When a conflict prevents our peers in the legal community from handling a matter for one of their clients, or when they find themselves in need of experience they may not have, we provide solutions to their clients’ legal needs in all of the practice areas listed above, as well as in estate planning and probate, family law, and insurance law.

We’re committed to local communities, and the foundation of our practice is communication. We seek resolution by listening to your legal concerns and understanding your goals, explaining your options and their ramifications clearly and simply. And if you have questions, we’re always here for you — just as we have been for over 140 years.

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In recent years, the federal Department of Labor (DOL) has been focusing significant investigative efforts on employer’s system-wide practices regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  System-wide practices are those that affect at least several employees or multiple employer locations.  Such practices include: How an employer handles the administration of medical certification forms.  For example, the DOL may look at whether the employer has a practice of requesting recertification of the need for leave more frequently than the FMLA permits. Whether an employer is timely providing employees who may be entitled to leave with the required Rights and Responsibilities,…
By now, employers are familiar with the proposed Wage and Hour regulations governing federal overtime exemption.  These regulations, as proposed, would, among other things, increase the minimum salary necessary (but not sufficient) to retain overtime exemptions.  The regulations would also change the rules with respect to the “highly compensated” exemption.  If you have employees that are classified as highly compensated, you should consult legal counsel for advice. It is likely that the regulations will be finalized by the end of the year and will be effective in Spring or Summer of 2016.  Once in place, employees must be paid at…
The federal Department of Labor (DOL) will likely be increasing on-site audits of employer Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) practices in an effort to increase compliance with that law.  To keep FMLA policies and practices audit-ready, employers should periodically conduct their own internal audit.  The audit should include: A review of policies, notices and other communications to make sure they are in compliance with current regulations. Review of employment law postings to ensure that the FMLA general notice is properly posted.   Review of FMLA training content for HR and managers. Review paperwork retention policies to make sure that…
Currently, employers cannot classify positions as exempt from federal overtime rules unless they pay workers in those positions a minimum annual salary of at least $23,660.[1]  President Obama has directed the federal Department of Labor to change that.  On June 29, 2015, President Obama announced a proposed rule that would expand the number of employees eligible for overtime by requiring employers to more than double the current minimum annual salary requirement to $50,440.  If an employer pays a lesser annual salary, an otherwise overtime-exempt position would no longer be exempt.    Democrats have hailed the proposed rule as providing fair…
It has already started–high school students are blanketing employers in their area with applications for summer employment. Are you ready? Most employers know that special rules apply to teenage employees, but it never hurts to review the basics. The most basic rule is that both federal and Wisconsin have laws and regulations addressing teen employment and Wisconsin employers must comply with whichever law–state or federal–provides the most protection to the teen. Be sure to review both state and federal rules and/or consult with a wage and hour attorney to make sure you get it right. Employers should also be aware…
A member of Congress recently introduced a bill to amend the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is several significant ways.  HR 3999 would amend the current Act to provide as follows: *Cover employers with 25 + employees (current only applies to employers with 50 + employees). *Permit employees to take “parental involvement” leave to participate in/attend activities sponsored by a school or community organization that are related to a program of the school or organization that the employee’s son, daughter, or grandchild attends. *Permit leave for “family wellness” to allow employees to attend to routine family medical care needs,…
Think your standard employee separation agreement complies with the law?  According to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EEOC), it may not.  The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging terms of a CVS employment separation agreement.  Specifically, the EEOC is alleging that several terms of the agreement unlawfully restrict the rights of employees who sign the agreements to file discrimination charges or communicate and cooperate with the EEOC.  Such restrictions violate federal law. The allegedly offending clauses include: *A cooperation clause requiring employees to notify CVS’s in-house counsel if the employee receives an administrative complaint relating to the employee’s…
The Secretary of the Department of Labor just announced that the Department will be cracking down on employers’ misclassification of employees as independent contractors with respect to minimum wage and overtime requirements.  Employers need to review whether those workers employers label “independent contractors” are properly classified for wage and hour purposes, as well as worker’s compensation and unemployment compensation purposes.  The definition of independent contractor is slightly different under each of these laws and employers in general must make sure that each definition is met before they can lawfully treat individuals who perform work for them as independent contractors.…
The American Medical Association voted last month to classify obesity as a disease requiring a range of medical interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention.  Given the broad definition of “disability” under the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Wisconsin disability anti-discrimination act, it may not be too long before courts start ruling that obesity is covered by these disability discrimination laws and reasonable accommodations will need to be provided as appropriate.  Keep an eye out for decisions addressing the issue that are sure to be forthcoming in the near future.…
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently decided that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it terminated employees who complained about the conduct of their supervisor on Facebook.  The case is Design Tech. Grp. LLC d/b/a Bettie Page Clothing.   The NLRA prohibits all employers, both union and non-union, from punishing employees who act together to complain about the terms and conditions of their employment (conduct referred to as “concerted activity.”)  In Design Tech., the NLRB determined that a Facebook “conversation” about workplace conditions is, in and of itself, concerted activity.  Based on this determination, the…