Seminars & Events
Think Twice Before Denying FMLA Leave for "Babysitting"
Human Resources professionals occasionally receive requests for FMLA leave when an employee is unable to arrange for day care services for their child. While in many cases FMLA leave is not available for routine “babysitting,” a full evaluation of all the facts must be performed before the request is denied. A Wisconsin company recently learned this lesson the hard way - its misunderstanding of FMLA family care provisions resulted in a jury award of significant damages to its employee.
Online Marketplace Liability
The United States and the European Union have strikingly similar laws regarding liability of online marketplaces for third-party content posted on their websites. Nonetheless, the approaches American courts and European courts take to address the issue, are drastically different. This extreme divergence is best illustrated by the American case, Tiffany v. eBay, and the French case, LVMH v. eBay.
What Power Should the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Have?
In March 2015, the United States Supreme Court rendered a decision that could have a significant impact on trademark litigation. The Court effectively ruled that when parties fully litigate an issue before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), the issue cannot be subsequently litigated in a federal district court. This premise—disallowing the re-litigation of an issue already decided—is known as “issue preclusion.” The purpose of issue preclusion is to prevent harassment and to preserve legal resources.
Marijuana Trademarks - Are They Capable of Protection?
Numerous conflicts exist between federal and state laws regarding the legality of medical marijuana use. One issue resulting from the conflict is a cannabis company’s inability to obtain trademark protection for its brands. Under federal trademark law, a trademark registration will only be granted in connection with goods and services lawfully regulated by commerce. Because marijuana, a Schedule 1 controlled substance, is illegal under federal law, marijuana and related paraphernalia are incapable of procuring trademark registration.
New Federal Trade Secret Law Enhances Trade Secret Protection
On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, President Obama signed the
Defend Trade Secret Act of 2016
. This new law, along with the Theft of Trade Secrets Clarification Act of 2012, significantly improves the ability to protect Trade Secrets.
New "Misconduct" Standard for Unemployment Benefits Clarified
Several major amendments to the Wisconsin unemployment law were enacted in January of 2014. The changes were intended to tighten eligibility standards for receipt of unemployment, thus providing relief to employers’ unemployment accounts and the state unemployment fund, which was experiencing a significant shortfall.
Among the key changes were modifications of eligibility standards for employees who are terminated for “misconduct.” Employers were optimistic that the new changes would add clarity to the definition of “misconduct,” and would make it more difficult for employees who fail to comply with workplace rules or expectations to successfully pursue unemployment claims.
New Case Highlights Importance of Carefully Crafted Union Non-Solicitation Policies
As many Human Resource professionals know, union organizing has been picking up steam, following the recent implementation of “Quickie-Election” rules, “Mini-Bargaining Units” and other pro-union rulings by the National Labor Relations Board. Although unions have adopted modern methods of communicating their marketing pitches (such as Facebook campaigns, Twitter messages, text messaging, e-mail blasts), as well as more traditional methods (such as public rallies and mass postal mailings), the most efficient method of convincing workers to unionize remains the face-to-face conversation. And union organizers understand that the best way to initiate a face-to-face conversation is at work.
Does the Rise of E-Readers Mean the End of Book Lending?
Over the past few years, E-readers, such as Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook, have become very popular. It is not hard to understand the increased popularity of this technology. An E-reader is able to store a library's worth of content and still be small enough to fit in a purse or briefcase. The software for many of these devices can also be downloaded onto an I-Pad or tablet, leading to an increased number of people reading digital books. Yet all this progress may have an unintended cost, namely the inability to lend a digital book.
Emotional Support Animals in Rental Properties
Emotional support animals are frequent subjects of angst and confusion amongst landlords. The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the ADA allow qualified individuals to keep emotional support animals at a rental property even though a landlord enforces a no pet policy.
Fictional Trademark Infringement Claims
What happens when a fictitious product name in a movie is the same as an actual trademark? The United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana addressed this issue of first impression in
Fortres Grand Corp. v. Warner Bros. Entertainment.
What Should Employers do in Response to the New Overtime Rules?
On June 30, 2015, the Department of Labor announced proposed modifications to the federal overtime rules. The modifications, if finalized in their current form, would significantly increase the minimum salary that must be paid to employees in order to exempt them from overtime pay.
The rules are not yet finalized, and additional changes could still occur. The following is a summary of the proposed modifications and steps that employers should be taking now to respond to the new rules.
ACA (Affordable Care Act)
Freedom of Information Act
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