Ruder Ware News & Insights

Updates on key legal issues and business concerns.

If you’re preparing to send a child off to college this fall, you should add two documents to your back-to-school checklist: (1) a power of attorney for health care, and (2) a durable power of attorney for finances. Without these two documents, you may not have the authority to make health care decisions or manage finances for your child once they reach age 18. A power of attorney for health care… Source
After many months of mostly virtual enforcement, OSHA is back to in-person site inspections and OSHA enforcement has become a priority for the Administration. As such, businesses should be aware of rights they have and how to best respond when OSHA comes knocking OSHA Just Showed Up, What Can I Do? With some exceptions, OSHA’s arrival will be unannounced and will often take a business by surprise. Source
Yesterday the CDC issued new guidance recommending Americans to “wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” The site includes a link so individuals can search their particular county to find out if transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high.  As of the date of this writing, Ruder Ware’s office locations in Brown County, Eau Claire County, and Marathon County all remain at “moderate” transmission levels according to the CDC.  The CDC guidance and county search engine can be found here. This new guidance comes on the heels of the Department…
“Probate” is a legal term for the Court process of transferring assets out of a deceased person’s name and to that person’s heirs and/or beneficiaries.  The difference between the term “heir” and the term “beneficiary” is that an heir is someone that would legally take if a person died without a Will.  A person’s spouse, for example, or children (if they have either a split family or pass away without a spouse).  A beneficiary is the term used for the person who is legally entitled to receive assets.  An heir can be a beneficiary, but sometimes a beneficiary is not…
It was about this time last summer when the U.S. Supreme Court extended Title VII protections to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status. Now the federal agency tasked with enforcing these new protections has clarified just what the new protections mean for employers. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released the information last Tuesday to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the landmark Bostock court decision. The comprehensive nature of the release, which includes a webpage, multiple fact sheets, and an administrative guidance document, underscores the agency’s commitment to vigorously upholding these new protections.…
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to strike down the Affordable Care Act once again today, the third unsuccessful constitutional challenge to the far-reaching health care law since it was enacted in 2010. This time, the seven-justice majority dispatched the claims on purely technical grounds and did not even reach the substantive issues. It was the first time the Supreme Court ruled on the ACA’s legality since Congress eliminated the penalty for failing to secure health insurance, an amendment that gutted the so-called “individual mandate.” Looking to capitalize on the unsettled statutory scheme, the plaintiffs, a group that included 18 states,…
Summertime is a special time of year in Wisconsin.  It brings many families to cabins where they create memories and traditions that will be cherished forever.  However, many problems arise if families do not create a plan for the future ownership and management of the family cabin.  The cabin may be subject to the claims of individual owners’ creditors, including spouses in the event of a divorce.  Individual owners may freely transfer their interests in the cabin, and you could end up owning the cabin with non-family members.  Individual owners may not pay their fair share of the property taxes…
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, OSHA finally issued its long-delayed COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) which is effective immediately. However, it applies only to the healthcare sector. Applicable employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days and with the remaining provisions within 30 days. The full guidance can be found here. Who Does it Apply To? The ETS applies to employees in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, emergency responders, home healthcare workers, and employees in ambulatory care facilities where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated. OSHA has created a flow chart, to help determine whether an…
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently announced the “minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance” (“MMMNA”) will be increased from $2,873.34 to $2,903.34 starting on July 1, 2021.  As part of laws designed to prevent spousal impoverishment due to the high cost of long-term care, the “community spouse” (who is the spouse of an individual receiving long-term care Medicaid benefits and who is still living in the “community”) is allowed to receive some or all of the Medicaid spouse’s monthly income in order to reach the MMMNA amount if the community spouse’s monthly income is not at that level.  If the…
Today the EEOC updated its FAQ at Section K regarding vaccination requirements in the workplace.  It also issued guidance for employees and job applicants entitled “Federal Laws Protect You Against Employment Discrimination During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Main takeaways from the EEOC’s update are as follows: The EEOC confirms that employers can require employees to get the vaccine before physically returning to the workplace BUT must engage in the interactive process to determine if employees with disabilities or religious beliefs that prevent them from getting the vaccine can be accommodated. [See EUA note below.] Employer can require employees to…
OSHA has changed course and is now advising employers they do not need to record employees’ adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines on their OSHA logs.  A month ago, OSHA’s position was adverse vaccine reactions had to be recorded as illnesses if an employer required its employees to be vaccinated.  The new guidance now relieves employers of that requirement, regardless of whether they require vaccination or not.  This policy is to remain in effect through May 2022. OSHA’s stated reason for the change in position is to avoid the appearance of discouraging workers from getting vaccinated or to “disincentivize employers’ vaccination…
In follow up to our last post regarding CDC’s mask guidance, note that today OSHA updated its website to state the following: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance relating to recommended precautions for people who are fully vaccinated, which is applicable to activities outside of healthcare and a few other environments. OSHA is reviewing the recent CDC guidance and will update our materials on this website accordingly. Until those updates are complete, please refer to the CDC guidance for information on measures appropriate to protect fully vaccinated workers. For additional detail, visit OSHA’s…
Unless you have been in a cave, you are aware that on May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that individuals who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 no longer need to wear a face covering in many settings. (CDC Guidance) Many of you shouted “HOORAY!” when you heard this news as you hoped it meant some relief from masks in your workplaces.  Unfortunately, what complicates this issue is that the CDC’s announcement specifically excludes “federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”  As you review your…
In any normal year, the onset of warm weather causes Wisconsin residents to flock to the outdoors.  This year, however, the stream of cars leaving cities should flow stronger than ever, as large sectors of the state’s population has been either outright locked down or significantly restricted in their travel since last spring.  Landowners who either permit access to or attempt to profit off of these new or reinvigorated outdoor enthusiasts should be aware of potential legal concerns involved with doing so. Public Gatherings As an initial matter, landowners may be concerned whether allowing large groups of persons to gather…