Axley Publications

Articles, legal alerts, and videos, highlighting a range of timely legal news and industry hot issues.

Latest from Axley Publications

The law governing Wisconsin limited liability companies (LLCs) will change on January 1, 2023.  In April 2022, Wisconsin adopted a version of the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.  The new law will bring Wisconsin in line with the majority of states and provide more uniformity between Wisconsin LLCs and LLCs from other jurisdictions.  Existing LLCs can opt in or out of the new law.  All LLCs formed after January 1, will be governed by the new law.
Key
Continue Reading Wisconsin LLCs: Deadline to Opt Out of New LLC Law Approaches

Voluntary arbitration agreements involving federal law are enforced under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Section 1 of the FAA exempts certain classes of workers, however, from the enforcement of arbitration. The U.S. Supreme Court recently resolved a federal circuit court split over whether employees who load cargo for the transportation of goods are engaged in commerce and exempt from arbitration under Section 1.
FAA and Section 1 Exemption
The FAA, enacted in 1925, favors arbitration to resolve employment disputes.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Says Airline Supervisor is Exempt From Federal Arbitration Act

On July 14, 2022, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a former employee in a dispute over whether two uniquely worded restrictive covenants against him violated Wisconsin law. The case presents new considerations regarding what employers can and cannot include in noncompete clauses with severed employees.
Facts
Carlos Godina was hired by Diamond Assets LLC to work in sales and signed a contract that contained three provisions at issue in the case: two restrictive covenants (a
Continue Reading Hypotheticals Can Render Restrictive Covenants Unenforceable

Worker’s compensation serves as the “exclusive remedy” for employees claiming benefits arising out of a work injury. Therefore, they are barred from suing their employers under more lucrative “tort” theories for injuries arising out of their employment. But how does the exclusive remedy provision apply when an employee claims his allegedly work-related COVID-19 condition was transmitted to his wife, who subsequently died from the contagion? Can he pursue a wrongful death action against his employer in tort? Or is
Continue Reading WI High Court Affirms Worker’s Comp Exclusive Remedy Provision in COVID-19 Death Case

In early July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision that reversed decades of precedent regarding the ability of a plaintiff to recover attorney’s fees in an open records mandamus action. Friends of Frame Park, U.A. v. City of Waukesha,[1] holds that a plaintiff in an open records lawsuit can only be awarded legal fees and damages if the lawsuit results in a court order mandating the production of previously withheld records.

Under Wisconsin law, if an authority
Continue Reading When the Wind Blows

Enacted on April 15, 2022, and published the next day, 2021 Wisconsin Act 258 repealed and replaced Chapter 183 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which governs limited liability companies. The updated statute completely replaces the prior LLC statute in favor of one that closely follows the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (RULLCA), making Wisconsin one of 23 states to adopt some version of RULLCA, or have legislation pending to adopt it. This article will outline the changes to the
Continue Reading LLC Statute Updates

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently issued a decision that overturned over 20 years of law regarding the type of employment action that is compensable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This decision could have implications across the country, as other district courts and appellate courts have followed the same authority, which has since been overruled.
Some History on Title VII Cases
In 1999, the D.C. Circuit decided Brown v.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Allows for Title VII Liability Without Any Tangible Harm

In 2020, the employer-employee relationship was forever altered. The COVID-19 outbreak disrupted industries, halted travel, and changed the way employees work. Employers have been forced to adapt to a tight employment market and workers’ needs. Some companies have decided to offer remote work opportunities and flexible schedules. With work from home becoming the norm, employers and employees have noticed a significant lack of the office culture that existed before the pandemic. To combat the disconnection between employees, some employers
Continue Reading It’s Party Time! Can Employers Deduct Costs for Internal Networking Events?

Certain states such as California and Illinois have been or are in the process of enacting laws to protect employees’ hairstyles because of the fear that banning specific looks may have a disparate impact on certain protected classes of workers. Wisconsin currently has no such law. The city of Madison, however, has long had an ordinance prohibiting employment discrimination based on physical appearance, unless there’s a reasonable business purpose justifying the workplace policy.
Madison Ordinance
Madison General Ordinance (MGO)
Continue Reading Man Buns & Purple Hair

The Richmond eminent domain plan has attracted a great deal of attention since the city first introduced it. Many approved of its purpose: to help the poor fight to keep their heads above water when their homes were so far underwater.

There are many, however, who do not share this sentiment. Banks and investors are concerned about the plan’s impact on the financial markets. Banks have alleged there could be financial losses exceeding $200 million.

How could such
Continue Reading Seizing Mortgages: The Impact on the Financial Markets

You’ve just received your borrower’s quarterly financial statements. They are very good, but that’s not what grabs your attention. The cover letter shows the company has rebranded, with a punchy new logo and a name change to something more eco-friendly, sustainability-focused. You call up the LLC’s principal, and he is excited about the success of their new marketing campaign, which is already paying off in new business. All good, right? 

It is great your customer’s business is doing well.
Continue Reading What to Do When Your Borrower Changes Its Name

For over 68 years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recognized the right of employers and unions to hold captive audience speeches. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has made it clear she intends to ask the Board to no longer allow captive audience meetings, effectively changing how employers have addressed union campaigns for the last 6+ decades.
Captive Audience Rule
The captive audience rule has been in place since 1953, when the NLRB issued its decision in Peerless Plywood
Continue Reading Another One Bites the Dust

Although employers may be automatically liable for supervisors or administrative personnel harassing subordinate employees under certain federal laws, they may also be held liable if another employee (even one subordinate to the harassed employee) or a third-party such as a customer or vendor harasses an employee based on their race.
What Will Courts Consider When Reviewing Claims?
Current federal law prohibits race-based harassment in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C.
Continue Reading Employers Can Face Liability for Employee-to-Employee or Third-Party Racial Harassment

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

Wisconsin is one of many states that limits the use of arrest and conviction records when hiring employees. The key exception to the use of a criminal conviction record is whether it substantially relates to the circumstances of the particular job. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently addressed the issue in a case where an applicant engaged in extreme domestic violence. The court exonerated the employer for revoking an offer of employment.
Facts
In 2013, Derrick Palmer was convicted of
Continue Reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Weighs in on State’s Criminal Conviction Law

Securing the return of company property from departing employees isn’t a new issue for employers, but the increase in remote work since 2020 (sometimes involving long distances) may present additional challenges. Companies that have equipped their remote workers with computers, laptops, scanners, monitors, printers, phones, or other office equipment may face significant loss if workers fail to return them upon separating from their employment. What can companies do to ensure the return of their property?
Be Proactive
Start by
Continue Reading All Hope Not Lost When Attempting to Secure Return of Company Property