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Dempsey Law Blog

Recently the United States Supreme Court narrowed the definition of "supervisor" for employment-related claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.  The Court's 5-4 decision in Vance v. Ball State University resolves the inconsistency among jurisdictions as to how much authority an employee must exercise to…
Do you routinely ask job applicants for their family medical history>  Do you conduct pre-employent physical examinations, or ask a propsective employee to complete a medical questionnaire?  If so, and the information you gather through these means is used to determine the applicant's position or fitness for duty, you may…
Have you ever questioned what happens to federal claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") when a business is bought and sold?  If you are a Wisconsin buyer, beware.  Federal law covering our area stands in contrast to Wisconsin law.  Teed v. Thomas & Betts Power Solutions provides that…
Employers know that both Wisconsin and federal laws protect their employees from workplace discrimination.  While these laws cover the same relative ground, employers may be surprised to know that the standards utilized under each are different.  For example, a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") may not…
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 15:14

New I-9 Form Must be Used by May 8, 2013

Another new employment form goes into effect.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  This new form as released on March 8, 2013, and is required to be used by employers on and after May 8, 2013.  DHS also issued…
The federal FMLA reached its 20-year anniversary on February 5, 2013. The U.S. Department of Labor marked the 20th anniversary by issuing a final rule implementing two important expansions of FMLA protections that go into effect this week. The first expansion provides families of eligible veterans with the same job-protected…
Has an employee ever requested a transfer to another office as an accommodation of his or her disability?  This type of accommodation was the subject of a recent United States Court of Appeals decision, which employers should consider when dealing with similar requests.   Factual Background The employee was a…
Most employers are aware that eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period under the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to care for a “son or daughter” who has a serious health condition. While employees will not question…
In my November 2012 Employment Law Alert I wrote about a recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that found “at will” employment waiver language unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In my December 2012 Employment Law Alert I wrote about another recent NLRB decision that found blanket…
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 14:28

Arrest and Conviction Record Discrimination

While an employer has an interest in the type of individuals it employs, the Wisconsin legislature has determined that employees with arrest and criminal records are a protected class of citizens that must be treated fairly.  The purpose is to prevent employment decisions from being made based on the stigma…
Recently, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") held in two reported decisions that Employers who have blanket rules prohibiting employees from discussing ongoing investigations of any kind, violate Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA").  Section 8 prohibits an employer from restraining an employee's Section 7 rights, which…
It is standard practice for employers of non-union employees to include at-will employment language in their employee handbooks or contracts.  The goal is to inform the employee that employment is terminable without cause, at the will of either party.  Two recent NLRB cases have made widely used language that is…
Recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an opinion in Ehlinger v. Hauser, 2010 WI 54 (June 25, 2010). This case provides us with important reminders of (1) why it is essential in a contract to say what you mean and mean what you say and (2) why it is necessary to…
Full legal name and addresses for you, your spouse and children and grandchildren (if any) List of assets, liabilities and net worth List of bequests of particular property or assets If you have minor children, the names and addresses of at least two persons who are willing to serve as…
Why Wait Any Longer? Health care has dominated the social and political conversation for well over a year.  People have expressed genuine concerns about the future of the health care system, the ability to control medical costs, and the opportunities to manage one’s own health.  Although you cannot control the…
Q –I received a foreclosure notice.  What should I do? A-Contact your lender immediately and explain your situation.  Provide information on your income and expenses.  Do not ignore the notice. Q – Do I have any options other than foreclosure? A – Yes, you may.  Our experienced attorneys may be…
Are you behind in your mortgage payments? You are not alone.  In these difficult economic times, the loss of a job or a reduction in take-home pay may put you in a bind.  If you do fall behind on your payments for your home, here is what you need to…
Thursday, 13 May 2010 00:00

Search Committee Selection Process

Recent events in the news again have demonstrated the pitfalls of failing to develop or adhere to a disciplined process regarding the recruitment, selection, and offer of employment to a professional or other high level employee. Whether you operate in a for profit or not for profit organization, there are…
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 00:00

EHR and CPOE Software Checklist

Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) have revolutionized how medical providers create, maintain, store, and retrieve records and assist physicians and other medical professionals with diagnoses, treatments, and prescriptions.  The advantages are clear, including enhanced ability to make decisions, sharing information in real time, and creating…
Tuesday, 13 April 2010 00:00

Applicants and Conviction Records

Yes, you can ask an applicant for employment if he or she has ever been convicted of a crime.  However, once you determine that the applicant has a criminal record, you cannot simply refuse to hire for that reason.  The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of…
If you are an employer, it is likely you have only one or two chances to avoid the problems, and potential liability, that comes with a bad employee.  You can minimize the risks by taking a few specific and appropriate actions. Prior to Hiring Wisconsin recognizes the tort of “negligent…
Tuesday, 13 April 2010 00:00

Personal Injury Checklist

Dempsey Law attorneys have significant experience in successfully pursuing personal injury actions for clients.  If you have been injured in an accident, we would be happy to see you in our offices or elsewhere at your convenience to discuss the details.  You may have a possible claim and may be…
Thursday, 21 January 2010 00:00

Tips for Employers Making Employment Decisions

Engage legal counsel early in the process. Review thoroughly the relevant facts and files prior to making the decision. Use our firm’s “independent” internal review process so that decisions are reviewed before being finalized. After discussion with counsel, prepare a note or memo to document the decision, the supporting evidence, and…
Thursday, 21 January 2010 00:00

Checklist for a Deposition Witness

Be prepared to spend the necessary time with your attorney to get ready. Identify and have available all of the relevant documents and other records you need to prove the case. Unless advised otherwise, spend time going over the facts or files so that you are very familiar with them.…
Thursday, 21 January 2010 00:00

Changes in Employment Law

2009 Wisconsin Act 20, effective July 1, 2009, expands Wisconsin Fair Employment Law to make available compensatory and punitive damages for employment discrimination.  This is a significant change to the law, and presents new opportunities and new pitfalls for both employees and employers.  These damages are now available along with…
If you are ever involved in civil litigation as either a plaintiff, a defendant, or as a witness, you may be called upon to give a “deposition.”  A deposition means that you are testifying under oath but not in court.  Dempsey, Williamson, Kelly & Hertel, LLP has long maintained a…
Thursday, 12 November 2009 00:00

Your Rights as a Landlord

In a University town such as Oshkosh, many property owners wish to make a return on their investment by renting out homes and apartments to college students. However, before making the leap and becoming a landlord, it is important to know not only what is expected of you, but what…
The person who thinks, plans and prepares is almost always going to come out ahead of the person who does not. Planning (coupled with a minimal amount of common sense) is the single best advantage in successfully concluding a negotiation. Imagine this scenario: you recently sold three new and very…
Thursday, 03 September 2009 00:00

Employing Your Children

If you own a business, you may want to employ your children. Not only will this provide them with valuable work experience, but it presents a way for you to offset some of your own income. But the IRS may closely scrutinize these payments. So what can you do to…
Thursday, 03 September 2009 00:00

Keys for Successful Non-Compete Clauses:

1. Have a legitimate business need 2. Be reasonable in terms of time, customers and geography 3. Be as specific as possible 4. Provide reasonable cash or benefits to the employee in return for the non-compete
Thursday, 03 September 2009 00:00

New Standard for Non-Compete Clauses

The Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted new standards that tend to save contracts designed to prevent ex-employees from competing with their former employers. In Star Direct v. Dal Pra, the Court determined that portions of a restrictive covenant may be enforced even after another section is deemed unenforceable, so long as the…
Thursday, 03 September 2009 00:00

A Great Time to Sell Your Business

Thinking of selling your business? Of course not. Our economy is in a significant recession, credit is tight, markets are down, and buyers are scarce. But, it is an excellent time to start thinking about selling your business, if that is consistent with your long-term plan. There are several questions…