South Dakota News & Analysis

  • 8th Circuit: Firing certain disabled employees isn't an ADA violation

    The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all South Dakota employers) recently held that an employer may terminate a disabled employee because of her disability and remain compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court reasoned that terminating a disabled employee because of her disability wasn't discrimination when she can't perform her essential job functions.

  • Old termination can trigger new retaliation claim

    A terminated employee may still be able to sue for retaliation years later if a new adverse action occurs such as refusing to contract with the individual as a leased employee. The 8th Circuit recently considered a retaliation case filed by an employee who was discharged in 2008 and then lost a contract position with the same company in 2015.

  • Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long-unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has been percolating in the lower courts for quite a while. As it frequently does, the Court declined to consider the question until there was a conflict between several appellate courts. Let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds lack of mentorship and coaching. New data from media agency network Mindshare U.S. found that 42% of U.S. employees said their companies either don't offer mentorship programs or don't offer enough of them. Men were more likely than women to say they either got enough or more than enough mentorship programs at work, at 57% versus 42%. The research also found that 66% of U.S. employees rank ongoing feedback or coaching on their work as an important or very important benefit in the workplace. Yet 28% of people surveyed said that they either don't get enough ongoing coaching or feedback or that their companies don't even offer it. The data showed that women were more likely than men to feel that way, at 31% versus 25%.

  • City reasonably accommodated employee with flesh-eating bacteria

    When a city employee contracted a serious health condition that required him to be out beyond the 12 weeks covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), his employer granted him an extended leave of absence. During his absence, however, the city eliminated his position and offered him either a severance package or a new position with a lower salary. Would he be able to establish disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliation as a result?

  • No irony here: Employee earns his termination by refusing to work with another employee

    An employee who has trouble communicating with his foreman complains about the foreman's safety. Soon, he refuses to work on the foreman's crew altogether and, as a result, is terminated. Can he collect unemployment insurance benefits?

  • DOL says FMLA leave mandatory for employees and employers

    After more than 25 years, you might think questions regarding proper interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) would be settled. It's a highly regulated law, and it provides employers far more detail and clarity than they get with most other labor and employment laws.

  • Tips to ensure you are prepared for a deposition

    For an HR professional, giving a deposition is a lot like visiting the dentist. You know it's necessary, but you probably aren't looking forward to it. You may be asked questions you don't want to answer (like how often you actually floss). And finally, consistently responsible practices should reduce your stress levels about the event, make it go a lot smoother, and prevent worse problems in the future.

  • Gearing up for seasonal workers—benefits considerations

    Q We are looking to hire seasonal employees, preferably students, to work for 90 to 120 days. They will work 40 hours per week. What benefits must we provide?

  • Workplace Trends

    NFIB speaks out against predictive scheduling laws. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) issued a statement in March in opposition to state and local laws requiring employers to provide hourly workers their work schedules weeks in advance. The organization said such laws aren't always possible or realistic for small businesses. "It severely limits owners' control over their scheduling decisions and urgent business needs," the statement said. The organization pointed to laws in Oregon, Seattle, and San Francisco and said the unpredictability of staff needs in certain industries like construction and hospitality raises concerns. "The laws not only prevent employers from adjusting to market changes, bad weather, or other demands outside their control, but they also prevent employees from picking up additional work hours at a moment's notice or requesting unanticipated time off," the statement said.