Top Stories

NLRB Redefines Protected Concerted Activity in Workplace

In January 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) narrowed the standard for when an employee’s conduct is considered protected concerted activity. The 3-1 ruling upheld the dismissal of a complaint accusing Alstate Maintenance LLC of violating the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when its skycaps commented negatively about the tipping habits of certain passengers […] More >

Nilan Johnson Lewis Announces New Associate Katie Eisler

Nilan Johnson Lewis is excited to announce the hire of Katie Eisler. Effective immediately, she joins the Minneapolis-based firm’s Corporate and Transactional Services practice, where she will work with clients to handle general corporate, intellectual property and transactional matters. More >

Candid Job Applicant Feedback: A Cool Favor That Can Put You in Hot Water

For employers turning down applicants, frank feedback hasn’t exactly been standard protocol. Historically, employers have used boilerplate rejection letters, or simply silence, to turn down applicants. Yet whether it’s due to shortages in talent, generational changes in the workforce, online forums like Glassdoor, or new appreciation for how applicants experience (and remember) a company’s brand, […] More >

She’s Been Working (And Winning) on the Railroad

In 1908, Congress enacted the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) to protect and compensate railroad employees injured on the job. While the railroad industry and overall employee protections (workers compensation, etc.) have evolved over the last century, FELA has remained intact, offering plaintiffs lenient thresholds that have rendered a challenging environment when defending FELA cases. While these cases are often handled by male-dominated teams, over the past few years, women at Nilan Johnson Lewis (NJL) have shaken up the traditional FELA landscape, garnishing an undefeated string of defense wins. More >

Workplace Biometrics Put to the Test

More than 10 years ago, the Illinois State Legislature passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which requires private sector companies to gain authorization before collecting employees’ biometric data, such as fingerprints, iris scans, voiceprints and facial recognition. While the passage of the law made some headlines in 2008, litigation was initially very minimal, as […] More >

Is AI Innovation and Background Check Regulation Putting Employers on a Collision Course?

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in hiring is growing at a furious pace. While AI can increase efficiencies, some business applications present significant legal risk. For example, using algorithms rather than people to score background checks and other data about job applicants has become commonplace; “but for criminal background checks, a growing number of […] More >

Snowballs and Iceballs: Crossing the Line in Settlement Negotiations

Children of northern climes remember the joys of a snowball fight. We also remember the bully who ruined the fun by packing iceballs. (Those from more temperate zones might consider the line between brushback pitches and beanballs.) What is true in projectile sports is also true in law—there is a boundary between being aggressive and breaking the (express or implied) rules. Recent news of criminal charges against a prominent attorney has focused attention on this boundary in the context of settlement negotiations. Prosecutors allege that Michael Avenatti demanded that Nike not only pay his client, but also hire Avenatti himself to conduct a $15 to $25 million internal investigation. Otherwise, he threatened to take billions of dollars off the company’s market capitalization by going public with his client’s allegations immediately before an earnings call and the NCAA basketball tournament. More >

Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Seek to Bring E-Cigarette Lawsuits to Minnesota

High-profile cases of exploding e-cigarettes and vaping devices have made front-page news in recent months. In January 2019, a Texas man died after a vape pen he was using exploded in his face. This followed a similar death of a Florida man in May 2018, which was believed to be the first death from an exploding e-cigarette or vape device. January and February of this year saw two different instances of vaping devices exploding while in overhead storage on commercial flights. Overall, there have been hundreds of e-cigarette fire and explosion incidents reported in the United States over the past several years, with those instances increasing in number as the popularity of vaping increases.   More >

A Business Tip Before Tipoff: Minnesota Restaurants Face Compliance Issues for Tips During Final Four

As Minneapolis’ US Bank Stadium gears up to host its second national sporting event in over a year, nearby restaurants are looking to once again capitalize on the added foot traffic from the NCAA Men’s Basketball “Final Four” competition. However, Minnesota bars and restaurants need to think now about compliance with tip-pooling and service charge requirements to avoid litigation after the final buzzer sounds. More >