Client Alert
June, 2018
Historic Supreme Court Decision Goes Against AFSCME
Contact Attorney Richard Wessels in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
By: Richard H. Wessels, Esq.
The US Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus v AFSCME minutes ago ruling against the union in the public sector union fee case. This is a devastating body blow to organized labor. Click to read the historic decision.
NLRB General Counsel Issues Much Needed Guidance on Lawful Employee Handbook Provisions
By James B. Sherman, Esq.
On June 6 th newly appointed General Counsel to the National Labor Relations Board, Peter B. Robb, issued comprehensive new guidance on employee handbook provisions. The guidelines direct the Board's Regional Directors throughout the country to reverse course from years of decisions issued by the Board majority appointed by then President Obama. Under the Obama Board numerous workplace rules commonly found in employee handbooks, were declared unlawful. Specifically, a long line of NLRB decisions considered many standard provisions interfered with or restrained employees in exercising their right to engage in "concerted activities" protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. The rationale used to justify such an extraordinary expansion of a labor law that has existed since 1947, was based on a hypothetical question: "could" employees interpret a given handbook provision to tamp down their right to strike, or to join together in protest of wages or other terms and conditions of employment? All too often the Board answered this hypothetical question in the affirmative, declaring basic workplace rules on civility, confidentiality, misconduct, etc. violated employee rights. These decisions - and the vague, hypothetical theory on which they were based - left employers in the dark as to what they could include in their employee handbooks without breaking the law. Thankfully, the new guidelines restore the rights of employers to maintain reasonable work rules.

Contact Attorney James Sherman in our Minnesota office at (952) 746-1700 or by email at
Association Health Plan Expansion Will Ease Burden
By Peter E. Hansen, Esq.
The Department of Labor recently issued a final rule providing that, as of September 1, 2018, more employers will be able to participate in Association Health Plans ("AHPs"), meaning a group health plan established by multiple employers that come together to purchase a plan. Prior to issuance of the final rule, employers could only come together if they had a narrowly-defined "commonality of interest"; the new rule provides several additional ways this "commonality of interest" can be met:

  1. The employers are in the same trade, industry, line of business or profession; or
  2. Each employer has a principal place of business in the same region that does not exceed the boundaries of a single state or metropolitan area.

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Contact Attorney Peter Hansen in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
LGBTQ Rights vs. Religious Freedom - Fight Lasts for Another Day!
By Walter J. Liszka, Esq.
On Monday, June 4, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in Masterpiece Cake Shop Ltd, et al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al. Case No. 16-111 in which it ruled in favor of a Christian baker who had refused to bake a custom wedding cake ordered by a same-sex couple in the State of Colorado. As an aside, it is interesting to note that while this Case has been pending for at least six (6) years, at the time that the same-sex couple (Messiers Craig and Mullins) wanted to place their cake order, same-sex marriages were illegal in the State of Colorado. In point of fact, they planned to wed in Massachusetts and host a reception afterwards in Denver.

While the Supreme Court, in a 7-2 Decision (Alito, Breyer, Gorsuch, Kagan, Kennedy, Roberts and Thomas in the majority; Ginsberg and Sotomayor in the minority), decided the Case on very narrow grounds, it left clearly open questions concerning the First Amendment and religious objections to same-sex marriages for another day.

Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at
How Should A Company Respond When It Suddenly Receives an IRS Form SS-8 in the Mail!??
By Nancy E. Joerg, Esq.
The Answers to the Top Ten Employer Questions
When a company uses independent contractors, it is not unusual for the Company to suddenly get a letter from the IRS that a current or former worker has submitted an IRS Form SS-8 (Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding).

IRS FORM SS-8 IS FILED: The IRS Form SS-8 inquiry can be triggered by either a worker/independent contractor or by the Company for whom the worker performs services. Either party can start the inquiry.

If the Company submits the Form SS-8 to the IRS, it is usually because the Company wants official confirmation by the IRS that independent contractors are being properly classified as independent contractors by the Company for purposes of Federal income tax withholding and employment taxes.

Contact Attorney Nancy Joerg in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at
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Upcoming Seminars and Events
Sex Harassment & Discrimination Complaints: How to Protect Your Company! (Teleseminar), Thursday, July 19, 2018, 2-3 pm

Yes, You Can Fire A High-Risk Employee Safely: Here's How! (Teleseminar), Thursday, August 23, 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.