Client Alert
August, 2018
DOL Issues Six New Opinion Letters
Seneczko, Alan.jpg
Contact Attorney Alan E. Seneczko in our Oconomowoc office at (262) 560-9696 or by email at
By: Alan E. Seneczko, Esq.
On August 28, 2018, the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, issued six new opinion letters on issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Family Medical Leave Act. They are summarized below:

  • "No-fault" attendance policies and roll-off of attendance points under the FMLA - attendance policy that "freezes" attendance points accrued prior to FMLA leave for duration of leave, thus extending the calendar "roll off" period, does not violate FMLA provided it is applied in a non-discriminatory fashion (i.e., similar principles apply to other types of leave, such as worker's compensation leave). Removal of absenteeism is a reward for working and therefore an employment benefit, which need not accrue during a period of FMLA leave.

By James B. Sherman, Esq.
Administering employee leaves of absence is complicated. For employers of 50 or more employees there obviously are the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and D.O.L. regulations to deal with. Then there is the EEOC, which has interpreted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to require leaves of absence, or extending them under certain circumstances as a reasonable accommodation of an individual's disability. Add worker compensation laws that provide for reinstatement of employees following a work-related illness or injury, as well as an ever growing list of other federal, state and, more recently, local laws governing what employers may or may not do about employee absences and even the most experienced HR professionals have their hands full. Monitoring FMLA leave (especially intermittent leave), work-related absences, military leave, leave as an accommodation and all the legalities of when and how to return workers from such leaves, can be overwhelming. Not surprisingly, many employers have turned to outsourcing these functions, ostensibly to avoid all the hassles and legal pitfalls they present. However, as a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision demonstrates all too clearly, turning these responsibilities over to a third party does not rid an employer of responsibility, or liability, for complying with the many workplace leave laws that are at play.

Contact Attorney James Sherman in our Minnesota office at (952) 746-1700 or by email at
Why a Handbook? The Necessity of Having an Employee Handbook
By Anthony J. Caruso, Jr., Esq.
An employee handbook provides communication between employer and employee. It sets forth the requirements for employees and notifies them what they can expect from your Company as to legal obligations along with employee rights. Also, a written Equal Employment Opportunity statement gives protection to employers.

What should an employer consider in an employee handbook?

Keep it current and remember one size does not fit all states where the Company might do business. In an employee handbook, the employee is the intended audience. It should have a straightforward layout which familiarizes employees with basic policies and benefits.

Contact Attorney Tony Caruso in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
Want to learn more about employee handbooks?
Sign up for our November 15, 2018 Teleseminar:

Employee Handbooks for Illinois Employers. What Policies to Include (and Why)!!
Presented by Attorneys Nancy Joerg & Tony Caruso

Have you ever wondered if your employee handbook is really up to date and complete? Are you in the process of re-writing your handbook and you're not sure what you should, or should not, include? This teleseminar is for you and will cover:

  • The true purpose of a handbook?
  • What specific language Illinois employers should and shouldn't use?
  • Which exact policies Illinois employers should include and what to leave out?
  • How to strategically cover employee benefits?
  • What should employee handbooks say regarding pay raises and performance reviews?
No Fault Attendance Policies
By Walter J. Liszka, Esq.
It has become a "sign of the times" that many Employers, rather than attempting to negotiate the maze of potential Legal Issues with regard to Employee Absences for sickness, child care, etc., have gravitated to what has become identified as the "No Fault Attendance Policy". Under a No Fault Attendance Policy, Employees are assigned certain points for absences regardless of the reason for those absences, and are terminated after they have accumulated enough points to generate termination and, in some cases, have exceeded the maximum number of days absent in a "No Fault Absence Policy" during a calendar or running twelve (12) month period. Employers believe that this is a very efficient way to maintain neutrality and to avoid asking people the reasons for their absences. Unfortunately, it seems that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking a very staunch position of disagreement with this concept.

Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at
New York City Places Caps on Uber and Lyft!
By Nancy E. Joerg, Esq.
Creating a brave new world for taxi and limousine service companies, Uber and Lyft introduced their ride-hailing services approximately six years ago. Time has passed and now urban policy makers are shocked at how these very convenient and popular ride-hailing services have quickly changed transportation options in cities like New York City.

To fix a number of practical concerns (including, primarily, concerns of whether ride-hailing drivers for Uber and Lyft and other such services can now earn a decent wage), on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, the New York City Council voted to actually CAP the number of for-hire vehicles from ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

Contact Attorney Nancy Joerg in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
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CLIENT ALERT Editor-in-Chief........Walter J. Liszka
Minnesota.........................................James B. Sherman
Wisconsin.........................................Alan E. Seneczko
Iowa.................................................Joseph H. Laverty
Illinois...............................................Nancy E. Joerg  
The Client Alert is a complimentary newsletter published periodically for clients and friends of Wessels Sherman. We reserve the right to limit distribution of our materials to representatives of management. The materials in this newsletter have been abridged from a variety of sources and are not necessarily applicable to a particular situation. The contents of this mailing should not be construed as legal advice. State laws vary. Readers should consult with legal counsel before taking any action on matters covered by this mailing.