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Madison Civil Litigation Blog

Do you have a legally-defensible drug testing policy in place?

If you are the owner of a Wisconsin construction company, chances are good that you have dealt with the consequences of workers who smoke marijuana. Maybe a stoned construction worker wound up getting hurt on the job and filed a claim for workers' compensation. Perhaps a laborer made a costly error after getting high at lunch time. Either way, a stoned workforce can't consistently produce quality work for your clients.

Land of the stoners?

Business litigation sometimes needed to handle partner disputes

Going into business can be rough. It is not always rainbows and butterflies. It is hard work. To help ease some of the stress associated with owning and operating a company, some people open with a partner or bring one on after the fact. Unfortunately, some Wisconsinites may find that doing so also has its challenges, and certain disputes between partners may require business litigation.

Every partnership has its issues. None are perfect, even if they start out that way. Some business partners may find that their managing styles do not mesh or that personal habits cause problems. Some may struggle to set boundaries, and some may struggle in their commitment to each other and the company.

Backpay possible following an employment wage dispute

Wanting to be fully and fairly compensated for one's time on the job is not unreasonable. When an employment wage dispute does occur, though, what can the affected individual do and what relief -- if any -- may be obtained? Through legal means, Wisconsin residents may seek compensation for their losses and even seek backpay for the time that they were unfairly or inappropriately paid.

According to the Department of Labor, if an individual believes that he or she is the victim of some sort of wage violation committed by his or her current or former employer, that person has two years from the date of the violation to seek compensation by filing claims in court. After the statute of limitations runs out, then the individual forfeits his or her right to seek relief through legal means. In other words, do not wait too long to take action.

August saw drops in retail sales, shopper traffic in the U.S.

It appears that, lately, sales have been down at physical retails stores here in America. This is what the numbers from a recent RetailNext report point to.

The report looked at sales numbers and related statistics for brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. for August 2017.

Employers grapple with making reasonable accommodations for Islamic workers

We previously began looking at employers’ duty to make religious accommodations in the workplace. As we noted, employers are obligated to provide accommodations to employees so that they may meet religious obligations. The duty to provide religious accommodations is not absolute, though. Employers are not required to commit to accommodations that would be an undue hardship for them.

One of the current issues in religious accommodations in the workplace is prayer breaks for adherents of the religion of Islam. Many employers are struggling with this issue. For example, Cargill recently received an unfavorable decision in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found reasonable cause that the company violated federal law in denying Muslim employees prayer breaks. 

Is your workplace policy on religious accommodations in compliance with the law?

Workplace discrimination is an important area for employer to carefully address, both by establishing sound policies to remain in compliance with state and federal law and to address legal liabilities should they arise. The types of a discrimination issues an employer has to address can vary depending on the demographics of the work force.

One of the issues an increasing number of employers hare having to address is prayer breaks for Muslim-American workers. Because practicing Muslims are required to pray five times per day, they often have to request workplace accommodations to fulfill their religious obligations. 

Sorting out liability for construction delays: work with experienced attorney, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at the topic of construction delays, particularly the potential costs they can have on those participating in a construction project and the potential difficulties of sorting out who is liable when a delay occurs.

As we mentioned last time, concurrent delays can be particularly complicated, since they involve two independent causes of delay and sorting out responsibility for the resulting costs can be difficult. In some cases, concurrent delays can raise the issue of float or slack time ownership. Float time is time built into a construction contract to give contractors wiggle room to complete the various phases of the project without causing an overall delay. Significant costs aren’t typically incurred unless there is an overall project delay, so it usually isn’t until float time is used up that significant costs are incurred. 

Sorting out liability for construction delays: work with experienced attorney, P.1

Previously, we mentioned the importance of homeowners taking precautions to protect themselves when working with contractors on a project. One of the important precautions homeowners and property owners should take is to ensure the agreement they enter into specifies clear completion dates and remedies for resolving disputes over liability for construction delays.

Construction projects can be complicated and delays can happen. It doesn’t have to be an issue, if the project schedule is set up properly and there is good communication between all the parties involved. When confusions arise, though, or when mistakes are made, delays can have a significant impact on the project timeline and can result in significant losses or additional costs. 

Here's why you need to know the Fair Labor Standards Act

Fair wages are important to you, but they're also important to those around you. When you're not being paid fairly, you can assume that others aren't, either. When it comes to getting the correct wages, it's your employer's responsibility to follow the law. If he or she doesn't and violates your rights, you can take legal action.

If you're worried you aren't getting paid overtime correctly, you need to know more about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Your employer must fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act for the following to apply. The FLSA applies primarily to those paid less than $23,600 yearly, those who are nonsalaried and those who are not involved in management activities. You must also not be in a position that is exempt from overtime pay to qualify under the FLSA. Those in this position are typically entitled to overtime pay.

Wisconsin homebuilder plagued by numerous mechanics’s lien filings

Building a home is a significant undertaking and it is important to enter into the process with a solid plan and clear expectations of all the parties involved in the construction process. Good communication is essential to ensure the property owner, the general contract, subcontractors, suppliers, architects, and other involved parties are on the same page.

When it comes to contractors, quality and integrity are critical. Contractors that don’t perform quality work usually carry their reputation around with them. An example of this is the case of Wisconsin home construction company Felicity Homes LLC, which is the subject of over 50 filings in Wisconsin Circuit Court over unsatisfied mechanic’ liens for unfinished work. The value of those liens, filed in less than two years’ time, is over $210,000. 


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