Client Alert
July, 2017
Employee Resignation – Employer Problem?
Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at
(312) 629-9300 or by email at
By Walter J. Liszka, Esq.
While there may be disagreement as to the current status of the work environment, most intelligent/competent people would agree that unemployment is low and the job market is beginning to tighten. The U.S. unemployment rate is at a sixteen (16) year low - 4.3%. In fact, there are 73 counties in the United States with unemployment rates of 2% or less based upon recent Bureau of Labor statistics. In this type of environment, talented Employees in your employ will be in higher demand, especially in a highly competitive industrial environment. Whether or not some have the perception of "manufacturing jobs" as "dirty work or low class" or that being "college educated" is an absolute requirement, the availability of experienced personnel with manufacturing skills is a growing talent shortage. While you may have in place Confidentiality, Non-Solicitation and Non-Compete Agreements, these documents, in and of themselves, do not totally protect an Employer. Employers must have a plan in place to address and deal with the unexpected departure of an Employee. 

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How Far Must an Employer Go To Properly and Consistently Accommodate Employee Religious Beliefs?
By Tyler J. Bohman, Esq.
 A recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Case highlighted an example of the uncommon, unique, and potentially high-risk nature of religious accommodations in the workplace.  In U.S. EEOC v. Consol Energy, Inc., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10385 (4th Cir.), a longtime employee and evangelical Christian retired under protest after his religious beliefs conflicted with his employer's new time keeping system, and their unwillingness to accommodate his religious objections to it.  A jury found the employer discriminated against the employee and awarded him almost half a million dollars in damages.

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Contact Attorney Tyler Bohman in our Chicago office at  (312) 629-9300 or by email at
U.S. Department of Labor Withdraws Key Obama-Era Guidance on Independent Contractor and Joint Employment Status
By Nancy E. Joerg, Esq.

On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (US DOL) issued a three sentence statement trumpeted by national news and happily noted by many employers. The recently-confirmed Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, personally announced that he has withdrawn the US DOL'S two Interpretations on two key legal issues worrying many businesses: joint employment and independent contractors.

These two withdrawn U.S. DOL Interpretations were issued in 2015 and 2016 during the Obama Administration and were widely viewed as "anti-business" at that time. 

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Contact Attorney Nancy Joerg in our St. Charles office at
(630) 377-1554 or by email at
Motor Carriers Continue to be a Hotbed for Litigation
By Sean F. Darke, Esq.
Class action litigation against motor carriers continues to increase throughout the country. Whether it is owner operators challenging their "employee" status or whether new state laws interfere with their "prices, routes, or services", trucking companies have been in overdrive to figure out their next steps. Now comes another challenge -- making sure leases with owner operators are legal.

Motor Carriers ("lessee") continue to be an economic force across the United States, so it's imperative that they analyze their current lease agreements with owner operators ("lessor") to assure that they are in compliance with the federal truth-in-leasing regulations. 

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Sean Darke, Attorney
Contact Attorney Sean Darke in our Chicago office at  (312) 629-9300 or by email at
Ongoing Saga - Class Action Waivers
By Walter J. Liszka, Esq.
Since 2012, there has been an ongoing saga created by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as to whether or not an Employer can require its Employees, as a Condition of Employment, to agree to arbitrate all Legal Claims against the Employer on an individual basis only, thereby waiving Class and Collective Action Procedures. The NLRB initially took issue with this type of action in the D.R. Horton, Inc. Case., 357 NLRB No. 184 (2012), in which it held that requiring Employees to waive the right to bring Claims in the form of a Class Action (or a Collective Action under the Fair Labor Standards Act) violated the guarantee of rights, as provided in Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, that allows Employees the right to engage in "protected concerted activity for mutual aid or protection". When that Case was appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Fifth Circuit denied enforcement of the Board's Order in the D.R. Horton, Inc. Case.  

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Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at  (312) 629-9300 or by email at
EPLI Coverage:
If You Like Us,
Let Them Know
Contact Attorney Al Seneczko in our Oconomowoc office at  (262) 560-9696 or by email at

Seneczko, Alan.jpg
By Alan E. Seneczko, Esq.

Over the last ten years or so, Employment Practice Liability Insurance ("EPLI") has become a more and more common form of insurance coverage for businesses. Unlike traditional sources of coverage, which insure against risks associated with business operations, products, work injuries, hazards, etc., EPLI covers an employer against liability stemming from employment practices, such as damages (e.g., back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, attorney fees, etc.) for unlawful discrimination, wrongful discharge, whistleblowing, etc.

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Upcoming Seminars and Events
Sex Harassment & Discrimination Complaints: How to Protect Your Company!: Teleseminar, Thursday, July 13, 2017, 2-3 pm

Yes, You Can Fire A High Risk Employee: Here's How!: Teleseminar, Thursday, August 17, 2017, 2-3 pm

Avoid Legal Mistakes in Onboarding: Teleseminar, Thursday, September 28, 2017, 2-3 pm

Developing the Best Employee Handbooks for Illinois Employers: What Policies to Include (and Why)!!: Teleseminar, Thursday, November 9, 2017, 2-3 pm  

Firing without Fear: Strategies to Protect Employers, In-Person Breakfast Seminar, St. Charles, Illinois, Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 8:30-11 am
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.