South Dakota News & Analysis

  • Barking up wrong tree: Tantrum over dog at work leads to firing

    Joyce Riggs was employed by Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home as a technician but was terminated for insubordination after her request to bring a companion dog to work was denied. Does the employee's claim that she was terminated in retaliation for asking to bring her dog to work have any teeth?

  • 'Fair-share' fee ruling brings new day for public employers, employees

    With proponents of a U.S. Supreme Court decision against the collection of "fair-share" fees claiming a victory for First Amendment rights and critics calling the ruling an example of the Court siding with billionaires against workers, employers are adjusting to a major change in the world of agency shops in the public sector.

  • Executive's at-will-employment status not modified by compensation agreement

    Daniel Ayala started a career at CyberPower Systems in Minnesota in 2006 as an at-will employee. After a promotion to executive vice president and general manager, he signed a compensation agreement outlining his salary and bonus until a certain sales threshold was met. He was later fired before meeting this threshold. Did this compensation agreement amount to an employment agreement and therefore modify his status as an at-will employee?

  • DOL loosens rules for association health plans

    Employers may soon have new options to obtain group health insurance through association health plans (AHPs) under new regulations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). A brief primer on the mechanics of insurance may be helpful before we dive into the new rules and what they could mean for you.

  • Big no-no: questioning employees about their retirement plans

    Q We have an employee who is about to turn 65. He has been with the company about 10 years. He is very negative about the organization and has created the same negativity in his two direct reports. In all honesty, we would like him to retire because of the toxic attitude. May we ask him about his retirement plans?

  • Agency Action

    EEOC reports on age discrimination 50 years after ADEA. Age discrimination remains too common and too accepted 50 years after the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) took effect, according to a report from Victoria A. Lipnic, acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The report, released June 26, 2018, says only about three percent of those who have experienced age discrimination complained to their employer or a government agency. Studies find that more than three-fourths of older workers surveyed report their age is an obstacle to getting a job. The report includes recommendations on strategies to prevent age discrimination, such as including age in diversity and inclusion programs and having age-diverse hiring panels. The report says research shows that age diversity can improve organizational performance and lower employee turnover and that mixed-age work teams result in higher productivity for both older and younger workers.

  • UPS's attempt to accommodate disabled driver deemed reasonable

    An employee had worked as a package car driver at UPS for 23 years when he sustained a couple of work-related injuries. He made two separate attempts to return to work, but there were no available full-time jobs within his physical restrictions so he eventually retired. He then filed two lawsuits against UPS under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA). Did UPS fail to reasonably accommodate his disability or make a good-faith effort to engage in the interactive accommodation process? Did the company retaliate against him for requesting an accommodation and filing his initial lawsuit? Let's take a look.

  • Surprise! Employee who voluntarily resigned is awarded unemployment benefits

    New sales quotas rendered an employee so unhappy that he quit his job. If an employee's unhappiness with his job generally doesn't constitute "good cause" to resign from his employment, what made this employee's situation different? Let's take a look.

  • High court upholds arbitration agreements that bar class actions

    In recent years, one of the most highly disputed issues in employment law circles was whether an employer could require employees to waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit and instead submit employment-related disputes to binding arbitration. Such a requirement has become a common condition of employment contracts, typically entered into at the beginning of an employment relationship, and/or as a condition of continuing employment.

  • Planning and education are key to successful HSA

    Over the past decade, the percentage of employers offering a health savings account (HSA) to their employees has grown dramatically. HSAs are a form of "consumer-driven health plan," a category of employee benefit that strives to place more responsibility on employees to be better consumers of health care. In short, employees pay 100 percent of the deductible under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). In return, they are given the opportunity to contribute to an HSA, which offers substantial tax benefits.