Wisconsin News & Analysis

  • 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?

  • Do you have a ghost of a chance against ghosting?

    If you're like us (and Seth Meyers), you might have a hard time keeping up with all the latest slang terms having to do with new technologies and trends in social interactions and other aspects of modern life. One such term is "ghosting," which is when a person just stops responding to text messages, usually from someone they recently started dating. The term has slowly spread to other situations in which one person suddenly disappears from another person's life, including—you guessed it—when an employee or job applicant is a no-show with no communication or explanation to the employer.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB chair responds to lawmakers on joint-employer rule. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chair John F. Ring in January responded to a letter from members of Congress urging the Board to withdraw its notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at setting a standard for what constitutes a joint-employer relationship. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Virginia), chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), chair of one of the committee's subcommittees, had urged the NLRB to abide by the joint-employer standard set out in the Browning-Ferris decision, a more employee-friendly standard than the one in the proposed rule. But Ring countered that the Browning-Ferris decision "leaves much unresolved." He also cited the "lack of clarity" as a reason the NLRB initiated rulemaking to set a joint-employment standard. He noted in his January 17 letter to Scott and DeLauro the "significant interest" in a joint-employment standard as well as a "wide range of views," as evidenced by the more than 26,000 individual

  • Workplace Trends

    Report notes big rise in diversity of Fortune 500 boards. A multiyear study of Fortune 500 companies has found big gains in diversity on company boards. The study, titled "Missing Pieces Report: The 2018 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards," from the Alliance for Board Diversity, in collaboration with Deloitte, says that the number of Fortune 500 companies with better than 40% diversity has more than doubled from 69 to 145 since 2012. Representation of women and minorities on Fortune 500 boards reached an all-time high at 34%, compared to 30.8% in 2016. Total minority representation increased to 16.1% from 12.8% in 2010, the first year Fortune 500 data was captured. The report's findings point to the increase being driven by Fortune 100 companies, which have 25% women and 38.6% women and minorities. Fortune 500 companies lag behind, with 22.5% women and 34% women and minorities.

  • Now's the time to consider marijuana policy

    State laws legalizing the use of marijuana—whether for medical or recreational use—have been a fast-moving target over the last several years. Currently, there are only 16 states in which marijuana is still illegal for both medical and recreational purposes. And out of those 16, most allow products that contain small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB names new solicitor. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in December announced the appointment of Fred B. Jacob as its new solicitor. The solicitor is the chief legal adviser and consultant to the Board on all questions of law regarding its general operations and on major questions of law and policy concerning the adjudication of NLRB cases in the courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. The solicitor also serves as the Board's legal representative and liaison to the General Counsel and other offices of the agency. Jacob has spent more than two decades practicing labor law and advising federal agencies on ethics, administrative law, and government operations.

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds lack of understanding of when workers will retire. U.S. employers are rethinking their approach to managing the retirement patterns of their workforces, according to a study from Willis Towers Watson. The 2018 Longer Working Careers Survey found that 83% of employers have a significant number of employees at or nearing retirement, but just 53% expressed having a good understanding of when their employees will retire. Additionally, while 81% say managing the timing of their employees' retirements is an important business issue, just 25% do that effectively. The survey found that 80% of respondents view older employees as crucial to their success.

  • How to claim paid family and medical leave tax credit

    The tax reform law passed late last year contained a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide employees paid "family and medical" leave and meet certain other requirements. While the IRS hasn't finalized regulations pinning down the specifics of the new credit, it recently issued some helpful guidance. Let's take a look.

  • 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.

  • Special holiday coverage

    The month of December includes many important religious holidays that give rise to various accommodation requests for religious practices and events. Employers often recognize winter holidays with holiday parties and gift exchanges. Additionally, many of you often give holiday or end-of-the-year bonuses. You must walk the line between complying with applicable laws, minimizing potential liability, and reducing (or at least not contributing to) employees' stress while making the holidays enjoyable. The articles in this month's edition address the primary HR issues that arise during the season and provide practical advice to employers to ensure happy, liability-free holidays.