Client Alert
January, 2018
Lessons Learned : Effective Documentation
Seneczko, Alan
Contact Attorney Al Seneczko in our Oconomowoc office at
(262) 560-9696 or by email at
By Alan E. Seneczko, Esq.
"The importance of documentation" is an axiomatic, and almost trite, battle cry that human resource professionals constantly beat into the psyches of their supervisors - quite often to no avail. But what, really, is "documentation?" When do you do it? How do you do it? And, what, exactly, are you supposed to document? More importantly, have you ever conveyed this information to your supervisors?

Documentation serves many purposes. It can help prove an essential element of a claim - such as "misconduct" in an unemployment claim, or a "legitimate business reason" in a discrimination claim. It can help defend a claim, confirming that certain action was taken, demonstrating that others were treated in the same manner, or preserving a record or history of prior events. Most importantly, it is the best evidence of events as they occurred - at a time when they are fresh in the individual's mind. This information generally constitutes the best evidence of what actually happened, and allows the individual to recall it in much greater detail several months, or even years later.

Employer Concern (Fear?) in 2018
By Walter J. Liszka, Esq.
As we open the book on Calendar 2018, there are various concerns for Employers. Obviously, the recent passage of a major overhaul of the United States Tax Code will present many opportunities to Employers, both from an accounting perspective (alleged tax savings) and also from a perspective of handling payroll systems. Obviously, this will be a continuing concern in 2018, but there are three (3) other areas that may "bode ill" for Employers.

1. Sexual Harassment is Back with a Vengeance.
How many of you remember the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill saga that arose when Clarence Thomas was nominated for a United Supreme Court Justice position? Shortly after Anita Hill's blockbuster allegations against Judge Thomas, sexual harassment charges rose by 71% with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Does the current environment of sexual harassment claims initially involving the "Hollywood Elite", and now claiming and affecting the careers of Politicians, Chief Executive Officers, and even Federal Jurists, open the doors for more claims? Time Magazine named the "Silence Breakers" as the Person of the Year for 2017. There is no doubt that Plaintiff's Lawyers "smell blood in the water" and it is a fairly safe assumption that sexual harassment claims will drastically increase.

Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at
All Employers in North Carolina Must Now Post an Independent Contractor Notice
By Nancy E. Joerg, Esq.
There is a wide variation, state by state, as far as the treatment of the independent contractor versus employee classification issue. Laws regarding independent contractor status and unemployment insurance benefits, workers' compensation coverage, overtime, etc. vary widely from state to state. Yes, there are also Federal laws which impact independent contractor status; but, increasingly, states are enacting new and creative laws requiring employers to "jump through hoops" as far as permitting independent contractor usage.

The latest example of a state passing a new law combating independent contractor misclassification is the North Carolina Employee Fair Classification Act.

Contact Attorney Nancy Joerg in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
Attend our popular breakfast seminar at a new location!
Breakfast Seminar - Firing Without Fear!
When: Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Where: Hampton Inn (Quad City Airport), Illini/Hawkeye Room, 2450 69th Ave, Moline, IL 61265

Presented by: Dick Wessels, Nancy Joerg, Joe Laverty and Tony Caruso

Employers, accountants and members of company management will gain valuable information and strategies on how to fire employees and dramatically minimize the risk (and expense) of a lawsuit.

Employers Need to Remain Diligent Regarding Discrimination/Retaliation Investigations in 2018
By Joseph H. Laverty, Esq.
On November 15, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued its annual performance and accountability report. In the report the EEOC states that:

"offices deployed new strategies to more efficiently prioritize charges with merit and more quickly resolved investigations once the agency had sufficient information. Together with improvements in the agency's digital systems, these strategies produced an increase in charge resolutions and a significant decrease in charge inventory. As a result, in fiscal year 2017 the EEOC resolved 99,109 charges and reduced the charge workload by 16.2 percent to 61,621, the lowest level of inventory in 10 years....In fiscal year 2017, the EEOC filed 184 merit lawsuits, including 124 suits on behalf of individuals, 30 non-systemic suits with multiple victims, and 30 systemic suits. This is more than double the number of suits filed in fiscal year 2016. Additionally, EEOC's legal staff resolved 109 merit lawsuits for a total monetary recovery of $42.4 million."

What does the EEOC yearly report mean to employers - it means that the EEOC is clearing more of its backlog cases and is filing more lawsuits on behalf of employees/ex-employees.

Contact Attorney Joseph Laverty in our Davenport office at (563) 333-9102 or by email at
Connect with Wessels Sherman 
Upcoming Seminars and Events
How to Handle an Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) Audit (Teleseminar), Thursday, February 15, 2018, 2-3 pm

Firing without Fear (Breakfast Seminar)
Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:30-11:30 am

How to Properly Structure a Strong Independent Contractor Relationship (Teleseminar), Thursday, May 10, 2018, 2-3 pm
The attorneys of Wessels Sherman have the superior experience, knowledge and leadership to aggressively represent your business nationwide, including St. Charles, Chicago and Cook County, Illinois; Oconomowoc, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Davenport, Iowa and the entire Quad Cities area.  

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.