South Dakota News & Analysis

  • SD employer's grievance policy didn't create contract of employment

    A personal care attendant at a senior care facility in western South Dakota was terminated after she allegedly slapped a resident on the hand and mouth, and then secluded the resident in her room. The employee challenged her termination by filing an internal complaint under the company's fair treatment and grievance procedure. Was she able to overcome the employment-at-will standard by showing that the grievance procedure created an enforceable contract? Let's take a look.

  • Sex sting creates a hornet's nest for Rapid City employer

    An employee was netted in a sex sting after he arranged for an escort while he was off duty. Instead of finding love, he found himself suspended from his job—and eventually terminated.

  • Does #MeToo movement mean #TheEnd for workplace romance?

    Recent reports of serious sexual misconduct by prominent men across the country have drawn renewed attention to a variety of issues involving sexual harassment in the workplace. One such issue is how to tell when romantic and/or sexual overtures at work cross the line into sexual harassment or misconduct. The line is often clear—especially for egregious misconduct—but not always. The challenge for employers is to design policies and procedures that make the line clearer for employees and give the employer an opportunity to identify and manage potentially problematic relationships.

  • Republican majority on NLRB targets Obama-era rulings

    During former President Barack Obama's eight years in office, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took an aggressively proemployee approach. It issued a number of rulings that expanded the protections of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) beyond pretty much anyone's expectations. Protection of labor rights in nonunion workforces was of special interest to the NLRB in those years. Only one year into Donald Trump's presidency, the Board has already started whittling away at the most aggressive of those rulings.

  • Agency Action

    Change likely to NLRBs union election rules. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a Request for Information in December 2017 asking for public input on the Boards 2014 rule that shortened the process of holding union representation elections. The NLRB was seeking comments on whether the 2014 rule should be retained, modified, or rescinded. The Boards action on the election rule was one of a string of party-line 3-2 votes taken in December just days before Republican member and Chairman Philip A. Miscimarras term ended on December 16. His departure leaves the Board with two Republicans (Marvin E. Kaplan and William J. Emanuel) and two Democrats (Mark Gaston Pearce and Lauren McFerran). Other actions included decisions overruling Obama-era decisions on union organization of microunits, joint employment, employee rights related to handbook provisions, the reasonableness settlement standard in single-employer claims, and bargaining obligations required before implementing a unilateral change in employment matters.

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds few employers prepared for surge in work automation. A survey by Willis Towers Watson shows that work automation, including the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, is expected to surge in the next three years in companies throughout the United States. The survey also shows that few companies and HR departments are fully prepared to address the organizational change requirements related to automation as well as less reliance on full-time employees and more reliance on contingent talents. The Global Future of Work Survey found that U.S. companies expect automation will account for on average 17% of work being done in the next three years. That compares with 9% of work companies say is being done using AI and robotics today, and just 5% three years ago. The survey shows that less than 5% of companies say their HR departments are fully prepared for the changing requirements of digitalization.

  • Hurricane drama makes unexpected landfall in South Dakota

    While Hurricane Irma was an obvious nightmare for employers in Florida, it was also a potential nightmare for employers with workers who were stranded in the Sunshine State. To that end, Irma not only made an appearance in the small town of Plankinton, but it did some serious damage for one local employee.

  • Of Matt Lauer, Al Franken, and #MeToo

    Sexual harassment isn't a new concept, in society or in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in employment based on race, sex, color, national origin, or religion before many of our readers were born.

  • Revisiting employment agreements in the age of Weinstein

    With all the recent sexual harassment and assault scandals in Hollywood, Washington, high-profile boardrooms, and even public television and radio, many are asking how these things could have been going on in secret for all these years. The answer, in many cases, is that the employer had some sort of contractual agreement with the alleged victims that basically guaranteed their silence.

  • Meeting (and exceeding) legal obligations to seriously ill employees

    Few situations are more difficult for a caring employer than learning that an employee is facing a permanent disability or terminal illness. You've probably read plenty of articles about your obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but those laws cover only what an employer is legally required to do. Responsible HR professionals strive to go above and beyond to help struggling employees receive the full advantage of the benefits they offer.