Victor Forberger

Victor Forberger is a labor and employment attorney living in Wisconsin.

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Latest from Victor Forberger

Or, who should be in charge for the sake of middle-class prosperity, Mr. Potter or George Bailey?

Unemployment is a key economic indicator, as the rate is tied to whether companies are hiring or laying off workers. The whole point of unemployment benefits, after all, is economic insurance for businesses so that their customers continue to have money to buy the things they need, like food and housing.
The decreased and irregular purchasing power of wage earners in turn
Continue Reading Which political party is more likely to lead to economic gains

There is no doubt any longer that the 40% administrative concealment penalty that the Department charges for unemployment fraud is highly profitable to the Department.
Note: The 40% administrative penalty is actually two separate penalties: a 15% penalty that goes back into the unemployment trust fund and a 25% penalty that goes into a separate program integrity fund.
The program integrity fund has mushroomed in size with the Covid-19 pandemic, as all of those unemployment benefits that were
Continue Reading No Administrative Concealment Penalties for Lost Wages Assistance

On March 26th of this year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that further review in Amazon Logistics v. LIRC, 2024 WI 15, was premature. As a result, the court of appeals decision in Amazon Logistics v. LIRC, 2023 WI App 26, 407 Wis.2d 807, 992 N.W.2d 168, remained in place.

Before getting to that appeals court decision and what it means, the terrain for gig workers (also called self-employed workers or independent contractors) has been in a
Continue Reading Gig Workers in Wisconsin

Jake has been on a tear with economic news for Wisconsin, and it has been too long since I provided an update on this front. So, I’m going to piggyback off of his efforts.

In general, Wisconsin has seen both solid job AND wage growth the past few years.

While the beginning of 2023 saw a slight slow down, the latter half of 2023 saw significant income growth in the state, especially when compared to other Midwestern states.
Change
Continue Reading Wisconsin economic news

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision in Catholic Charities v. LIRC, 2024 WI 13. At issue in this case was whether the Catholic Charities entities would be exempt from paying any unemployment taxes (and their employees no longer eligible for unemployment benefits when laid off) because the Catholic Charities entities are, like churches themselves, operated for faith-based reasons.
Note: Articles on the decision have appeared in the Wisconsin Examiner, WisPolitics, and Urban Milwaukee
Continue Reading Religious Exemptions to Unemployment Taxes in 2024

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With the new speedometer 3.0 speed tests, I ran some tests with various browsers on my System76 2018 Galago Pro laptop.

Current specs are (via the inxi terminal command):

System:
Host: Hrothgar Kernel: 6.6.10-76060610-generic x86_64 bits: 64
Desktop: Xfce 4.16.0 Distro: Ubuntu 22.04.4 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish)
Machine:
Type: Laptop System: System76 product: Galago Pro v: galp3
serial: <superuser required>
Mobo: System76 model: Galago Pro v: galp3 serial: <superuser
Continue Reading Browser speed tests

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Video acceleration in Firefox (all recent versions of the past year and more) has been a problem on my desktop computer with its radeon graphics card. See my setup. Various websites would have videos appear as glitches and even lead to the xfdesktop freezing/crashing and needing to be killed (xfdesktop will automatically restart after being killed).

Thanks to UbuntuHandbook for its advice at Enable Hardware Video Acceleration (VA-API) For Firefox in Ubuntu
Continue Reading Video acceleration in Firefox for radeon graphics card

Help make government unemployment insurance forms easier to use — and get a $50 Visa gift card for your feedback.

The US Dep’t of Labor and Nava Public Benefit Corporation are looking for individuals who are unemployed or who have recently experienced unemployment to better understand the issues people face when applying on-line for unemployment benefits and completing on-line weekly certifications.

General Information

  • If selected to participate, you will receive a $50 Visa gift card forcompleting a one-hour interview.


Continue Reading Claim-filing study looking for participants

Note: Creepio, an AI, is a featured player among Auralnauts.

The current infatuation with Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially at the state bar which is pushing CLEs about how lawyers need to get on the AI bandwagon, is generally an un-serious infatuation with a marketing concept.

AI and LLM – language learning models, on which much of recent AI is based – has nothing to do with accuracy. So, for a legal practice or any kind of professional activity
Continue Reading Limits of AI and LLM for Attorneys

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

In Colleen Koch, PUA Hearing No. 21603562MD (28 Jan. 2022), the Labor and Industry Review Commission held that the Department of Workforce
Development’s notice for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) documentation requirement is legally defective, as the notice lacked notice language for filing the documentation late with good cause. The Department, however, has never corrected its PUA documentation notice. Accordingly, the deadline for satisfying the PUA documentation requirement has been extended indefinitely, since all notices of this requirement
Continue Reading PUA documentation notice is legally defective

Unique among the states, Wisconsin implemented PUA benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic with specific restrictions that did NOT match any actual statutory or regulatory requirements. One of these was a primary income test to deny PUA benefits to part-time workers who had other sources of income outside of their pandemic-related job losses.

The Commission’s argument was that the “primary income” of 20 CFR § 625.2(n) is not the same as the “principal income” in 20 CFR § 625.2(s) and
Continue Reading No primary income test for PUA benefits in Wisconsin

With twitter deteriorating by the day, there is a need for social media options. And, one of those options is Mastodon and the Fediverse. Unlike other social media where a person signs up for an account at a central repository (think Facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn), there is no single repository or instance of Mastodon. Rather, Mastodon’s only real organization is set of communication protocols called ActivityPub so that posts from one instance can migrate to
Continue Reading Explaining Mastodon for Wisconsin Lawyers

For the unemployment bills — AB147, AB149, AB150, and AB152 — recently passed by the legislature, I am urging Governor Evers to veto these bills in this letter.

I understand you are busy with the budget bills recently passed by the legislature.

But, the above-referenced unemployment bills recently passed by the legislature are also on your desk, and I urge you to veto them for the reasons indicated in my analysis of the bills at
Continue Reading Letter to Governor Evers

Here is some updated information on the claim-filing questions in Wisconsin. You can find prior versions of these questions at this October 2020 post, which has the questions that existed as of September 2020.

This info is based on the Department’s initial claim questions that are available here, and the weekly certifications questions that are available here. These web pages have been consolidated into single PDF files:


Continue Reading Claim-Filing questions in Wisconsin as of June 2022

Debt ceiling talks are focused on abstract “work requirements.” What these actually mean are not described in any detail. The unstated presumption is that people who receive government benefits do not work in some way because of those government benefits.

In reality, these “work requirements” do not make any sense. Unemployment, for example, is based on being able and available for work, not missing any work offered, a willingness to accept any jobs being offered to someone, and searching
Continue Reading Work requirements, wages, and jobs