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February 2017 Archives

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

Illinois Trucking Companies Need To Beware: Owner Operators Challenging Their Employment Status And Deductions From Their Settlements Under The IWPCA!

A recent wave of litigation under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act ("IWPCA") is threatening the entire trucking industry in the State of Illinois, by challenging owner operators' employment status, and then, the deductions from their settlements. This is forcing trucking companies to scrutinize their owner operator agreements to assure they are protected from any liability.

Illinois' Sick Leave Saga

As most of the Employers in the State of Illinois are aware, there has been recent activity by the City of Chicago, the County of Cook and the Illinois State Legislature to create specific provisions providing "Sick Leave" for Employees.

The Current Status of Wage and Hour Issues

Wage and hour lawsuits have continued to rise over the last ten (10) years and continue to be one of the highest risks in litigation for businesses. Throughout 2017, Wessels Sherman's wage and hour group will highlight some of the difficult issues facing businesses and how businesses can best handle those issues.

Lowe's Settles Independent Contractor Misclassification Case

With an increasing pace, the news is filled with lawsuits against companies who use independent contractors. This marked litigation trend spans the entire United States and shows no sign of letting up. Companies who use independent contractors need to carefully review their practices with their independent contractors and try to reduce their risk in using independent contractors.

EEOC - Fiscal Year 2016

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently released statistical data on its Enforcement/Litigation for Fiscal Year 2016 (October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016). A total number of 91,503 Charges of Workplace Discrimination were filed in FY 2016, which is approximately a 3% increase in Charges from FY 2015. Furthermore, over the twelve (12) month Fiscal Year period, the EEOC resolved 97,443 Charges and secured more than $482 Million for affected Employees. The EEOC responded to well over 585,000 calls and more than 160,000 inquiries to its various Field Offices.

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