South Dakota News & Analysis

  • Abuse of discretion standard still applies in benefits determinations

    When an employee became disabled as a result of a medical condition, the employer reclassified him as partially disabled following an independent medical evaluation. After exhausting his partial disability coverage, he filed suit, challenging the employer's determination. What standard of review would the court apply regarding the plan administrator's determination of whether an employee is eligible for benefits?

  • Employee who can't do his job unable to stake out discrimination claim

    Garry Denson worked for a Missouri Steak n Shake franchise as a fountain operator but was terminated because of his inability to perform his essential job functions. Were the circumstances of his termination enough to support disability discrimination claims?

  • Earning employee trust can reduce your legal liabilities

    "Trust" is a slippery concept. What does it mean for your employees to "trust" you or "distrust" you? And why should you care?

  • Minimum wage increases heat up the competition for hourly workers

    It's no news to most anyone with experience in federal wage and hour laws that they tend to lag far behind the times. The federal minimum wage—which has stood at $7.25 going on 10 years now—certainly falls into that category. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' CPI Inflation Calculator, today's equivalent of the 1978 minimum wage (which was $2.65) would be $10.72. According to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, if the rate had risen at an appropriate pace since 1968, it would be close to $20.

  • Get-out-of-jail-free card: attendance policy and employee incarceration

    Q An employee who was working restricted duty as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) got arrested and isn't able to come to work until further notice. May we fire him now for attendance reasons, or do we have to wait until he is out of jail?

  • Workplace Trends

    Turnover hits all-time high. Research from indicates that total workplace turnover in the United States hit an all-time high in 2018, reaching 19.3%. That's nearly a full percentage point from 2017 and more than 3.5% since 2014. The report contains data from nearly 25,000 participating organizations of varying sizes in the United States. By industry, hospitality (31.8%), health care (20.4%), and manufacturing and distribution (20%) had the highest rates of total turnover. Utilities (10.3%), insurance (12.8%), and banking and finance (16.7%) had the lowest. By area of the country, the South Central region (20.4%) and the West (20.3%) had the highest rates of total turnover. The Northeast (17.3%) had the lowest rate of total turnover in the country.

  • Rude boss earns pilot unemployment benefits

    After several unnerving trips with his boss, a pilot turns in his resignation. Is he still entitled to unemployment benefits?

  • Supreme Court clarifies ADEA's coverage of public employers

    What employers does the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) cover? A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision provides the clear answer. Two firefighters for the Mount Lemmon Fire District in Arizona claimed they were fired in violation of the ADEA. The fire district's response was that it was too small to qualify as an employer under the Act. As you will see below, the decision came down to how the Court would interpret two simple words in the statute: "also means." So, does a state or political subdivision (like the fire district) have to have 20 or more employees to be subject to the Act? Read on to find out.

  • Wellness programs are about more than health insurance costs

    When attorneys talk or write about wellness programs, it's almost always from a highly legal perspective. We could talk all day about the convoluted and overlapping requirements of the various laws that apply to such programs. But this month, we want to take a different approach and look at wellness programs from more of a business perspective.

  • Wrap up 2018 with new or revised handbook

    This year has brought an unusual number of changes in employment law. Various federal agencies got into the groove of aggressively undoing a lot of requirements their predecessors in the Obama administration had put into place. In addition, there has been an increasing number of employment-related requirements from state and local governments.