South Dakota News & Analysis

  • Employee's sexual harassment, retaliation claims go up in smoke

    Lauren Hales was employed by Casey's Marketing Company as a store clerk, but she was terminated when she burned a customer whom she alleged sexually propositioned her. Were the incident and Hales' termination enough to support claims of a hostile work environment based on sexual harassment and retaliatory termination?

  • New DOL program offers self-reporting of wage and hour violations

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in March 2018 that it is launching a program to allow employers a chance to self-audit their wage and hour practices—and report any violations they find—in exchange for limited protection from additional liabilities and claims. The program, dubbed the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (or PAID) program, will start as a six-month pilot, after which the DOL will decide whether to offer it on a permanent basis.

  • Congress pins down tip-pooling requirements

    When Congress passed another spending bill in March 2018, few people were expecting it to resolve a somewhat obscure and highly technical dispute over how employers allocate tips among their workers. Nevertheless, that's exactly what the law does, and the result is much-needed clarity on the topic. Let's take a closer look at tip pools, their history, and what the new law accomplishes.

  • #MeToo movement and implications for employers

    Q The #MeToo phenomenon has put employers and HR pros everywhere on notice that employees and others are no longer willing to hide or be quiet about their encounters with sexual harassment and assault. We have stepped up our vigilance and training to identify and root out those issues in our workplace, but of course we know we can do more. In your estimation, what is the big takeaway for employers from this worldwide pushback against offensive behavior? Is this a moment or a movement? Do you think we will ever arrive at a day when our workplaces are free of such inappropriate behavior?

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds global engagement levels at all-time high. Global employee engagement levels hit an all-time high in 2017, according to research from Aon, a global professional services firm. The 2017 figures follow a dip in engagement levels the previous year. Aon's analysis of more than five million employees at more than 1,000 organizations around the world found that global employee engagement levels reached 65% in 2017, up from 63% in 2016. The percentage of employees who were highly engaged increased from 24% in 2016 to 27% in 2017. Aon research shows that a five-point increase in employee engagement is linked to a three-point increase in revenue growth in the subsequent year.

  • Workplace romance slices Arby's employee

    An employee of Arby's was involved in a romantic relationship with a subordinate. Not only did their relationship get hot and heavy, but so did the employer after being the last to know about it. Does the employee's behavior constitute misconduct sufficient to deny unemployment benefits?

  • Panera Bread bound by bonus contract offered to at-will managers

    Panera Bread employs general managers in its restaurants throughout the country. These general managers are at-will employees. However, the company implemented a bonus plan for its general managers and had them sign a contract outlining the plan. Is the bonus contract enforceable even though the managers are at-will employees? Under what circumstances, if any, can the company change the terms of the contract?

  • If a picture paints a thousand words, what's wrong with emojis??

    What do a pair of scissors and an eggplant have in common? At first glance, the answer would appear to be "nothing." But what if I told you that in combination, they can constitute a threat of bodily harm?

  • Handling sexual orientation discrimination in confusing legal landscape

    In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that sexual harassment could be perpetrated by a man against another man or a woman against another woman. When that decision was issued, many commentators pondered whether discriminating against or harassing someone because of her sexual orientation also violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Who would have thought that 20 years later, there still wouldn't be a clear answer to that question?

  • Agency Action

    EEOC approves new strategic plan. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the approval of its strategic plan for fiscal years 2018-2022. The agency said the plan serves as a framework for achieving its mission through the strategic application of its law enforcement authorities, preventing employment discrimination and promoting inclusive workplaces through education and outreach, and organizational excellence. Those objectives have associated performance measures detailing outcomes to be achieved during the four-year period the plan is in effect. The outcomes are designed to demonstrate the EEOCs progress in carrying out its mission in a time of shrinking resources and increasing demand for its services.