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Wessels Sherman Labor and Employment Law Blog

ACA FAQ of the Month: What the Proposed American Health Care Act Means for Employers

On March 6, 2017, the American Health Care Act ("AHCA"), a proposal to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, was introduced. The proposal is of course subject to amendment (and almost certainly will undergo some amendments), but in its current form, it would ease the burden that the ACA placed on employers. In brief, the AHCA retroactively removes the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate as of 2016, meaning that employers with 50 or more employees will no longer be subject to penalties for failing to offer affordable coverage to full-time employees and their dependents, and would not be penalized if they failed to do so in 2016. However, and somewhat surprisingly, the AHCA does not remove the employer reporting requirements - meaning that large employers and employers who sponsor self-funded health plans would still be responsible for completing Forms 1094 and 1095.

NLRB Rejects Wisconsin's Dues Checkoff Restriction

Wisconsin's Right-to-Work law, which became effective on March 11, 2015, prohibits employers and unions from entering into agreements which require membership in the union or the payment of dues as a condition of employment ("union security agreements"). The law also prohibits employers from deducting union dues from an employee's wages unless the employee has signed an authorization that is revocable upon thirty days' notice ("dues checkoff"), rather than the one-year period permitted under the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRA expressly allows states to enact Right-to-Work laws that prohibit union security agreements - but it does not contain a similar provision relating to dues checkoff. So, do the provisions of the NLRA that relate to dues checkoff supersede, or preempt, the more employee-friendly provisions of the Wisconsin law?

Employer Found Not Liable For Racial Harassment

In a February 9, 2017 Decision (Glenda Cable v. FCA US LLC, case number 16-2283), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit located in Chicago ("the Court") found that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ("Fiat") was not liable for racial harassment.

Good Employer Documentation

One of the most difficult and time consuming tasks that has confronted me over my lengthy career as a Management Labor Employment Lawyer is the continuing lack of documentation - i.e. evidence - that exists when I am attempting to defend either a Union Grievance, an EEOC Charge, etc. The most important thing that a Supervisor, HR Professional or Employer Representative must remember is that you have to accurately and completely document any event dealing with Employee Discipline.

Federal Court Bars Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry From Pursuing Claims for Sick Leave Benefits Against AT&T on Behalf of Union Employees Who Were Not Sick

Minnesota statutes section 181.9413 permits employees to use "personal sick leave benefits" provided by their employers, for absences due to their child's illness or injury. In essence, then, state law "rewrites" employer sick leave benefits which, not surprisingly, typically require that the employee must be sick to use the benefit. The statute permits employees to receive paid sick leave when the employee is not sick, but is absent from work to care for a sick or injured child. As a result, Minnesota law allows employees to use sick leave for purposes not intended by their employers when providing such benefits. However, when the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) attempted to apply this statute to unlimited sick leave benefits provided for in a collective bargaining agreement between AT&T and a union representing some of its employees - the Communication Workers of America (CWA) - a federal judge ruled that Section 181.9413 is preempted by federal labor law. Holding that the Labor Management Relations Act preempted state law in this instance, the court permanently enjoined DOLI from bringing, or even investigating, claims against AT&T under Minnesota's sick leave statute on behalf of employees covered by the union contract.  

Gender Identity Issues are Front and Center in 2017

From President Trump's Recent Executive Order and the U.S. Supreme Court's Anticipated Decision this spring on Use of Public Bathrooms According to One's Gender Identity, to a Case Pending in Minnesota Federal Court Involving Claims of Discrimination in Health Care under the Affordable Care Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act

Don't miss the deadline! Time is running out to apply for work visas for 2017!

The ability to file an H-1B visa for specialized professionals (engineers, computer / IT professionals, accountants, doctors, researchers, teachers, etc.) is nearing its cutoff date. If you are interested in petitioning for a foreign worker in one of these fields, you must notify Wessels Sherman now! The last day to initiate a case is Monday, March 6, 2017.

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