Barna, Guzy & Steffen Announces Addition of New Shareholder

August 13, 2020  |  BGS

The Shareholders of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. announce that Jennifer C. Moreau has been named Shareholder. Since joining the firm in 2013, Litigation and Business Law Attorney Jennifer Moreau has been an important asset to BGS. She has been instrumental in resolving complex cases for some of the firm’s largest clients, all while managing a growing list of her own satisfied clients. Jennifer’s work includes civil and business litigation as well as employment defense and counseling. She has handled a wide variety of cases, including complex matters, and she conducts all aspects of litigation from beginning to end. Jennifer also regularly assists municipal clients with employment investigations and represents clients in grievance arbitrations. Before joining BGS, Jennifer was employed as a judicial law clerk for the Hon. Robert B. Varco and Hon. Mary A. Yunker, Minnesota District Court, 2007-2013. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2007 and with highest distinction and with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2004. BGS congratulates Jennifer on this career achievement and recognizes her as an asset to the legal profession and to the community. It is a pleasure to have Jennifer on the BGS team. Established in 1938, Barna, Guzy & Steffen provides a variety of legal services…

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Disciplining Employees in a Newly Unionized Setting

July 17, 2020  |  Scott M. Lepak

The time after a union is voted into place and before the parties have entered into a collective bargaining agreement is often viewed as a period of great uncertainty. It is typically a time of considerable posturing as the employer and union seek to establish their respective authority as they work through this new relationship. There is often disagreement on what constitutes a management right (that does not need to be negotiated) as opposed to a mandatory subject of bargaining (that must be negotiated). Read on to learn more about disciplining employees in a newly unionized setting. A typical disputed area is the employer’s right to determine how to discipline employees before a first union contract is finalized. This area received significant clarity from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) on June 23, 2020, as it applies to private sector employers.1 In 800 River Road Operating Company, LLC d/b/a Care One at New Milford and 1199 SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, 369 NLRB No. 109, the Board issued a decision stating that upon commencement of a collective-bargaining relationship, employers do not have an obligation to bargain prior to disciplining bargaining unit employees in accordance with an established disciplinary policy or practice.  This Care One at New Milford decision significantly and specifically…

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COVID-19 Return to Work: What Can an Employer Do When a Higher Risk Employee Wishes to Return to Work?

June 25, 2020  |  BGS, Scott M. Lepak, Kate Frederickson

In another recent blog post, we addressed the issue of what employers may do when they have employees who the employer knows are at high risk. The short answer is that even if they are trying to act in the worker’s best interests, an employer is not permitted to assume the role of a benevolent parent – it is within the employee’s control to exercise their rights. Here, we go into more detail related to what an employer can do when a higher risk employee wishes to return to work. According to the EEOC, if an employer is concerned about the employee’s health being jeopardized upon returning to the workplace, the ADA does not allow the employer to exclude the employee or take adverse action solely because the employee has a disability that the CDC identifies as potentially placing the employee at “higher risk for severe illness” if the employee gets COVID-19. This action under the ADA is not allowed unless the employee’s disability poses a “direct threat” to the employee’s health that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation. The “direct threat” requirement is a high standard. As an affirmative defense, direct threat requires an employer to show that the individual has a disability that poses a “significant risk of substantial…

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