Happy New Year From Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A.

Happy New Year from Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney!  We would like to start 2018 by sharing a few legal updates, inviting you to see us present at upcoming conferences, and welcoming our newest shareholder.

 The Importance of Accurate Performance Reviews

 The start of a new year is not only a time for setting goals for next year, it is also time for annual performance reviews.  In doing these reviews, supervisors must avoid the impulse to be Minnesota Nice and, instead, accurately document issues with employees’ performance.  Sugar-coating concerns, or leaving them out of performance reviews entirely, could leave the employer in a difficult spot if the employee later challenges a disciplinary action or other employment action.  Read more about a recent case illustrating the need for accurate performance reviews and tips for avoiding this common pitfall at: The Downside of “Minnesota Nice” In Performance Reviews.

Tax Bill Leaves Employer Health Insurance Mandate in Place

By now, everyone has heard about the tax bill that was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017.  You may have heard that the tax bill eliminated the health-insurance mandate, but the specifics of the tax bill are important.  Starting in 2019, the penalty was eliminated for individuals who do not purchase health insurance or receive insurance through their employers.  This bill, however, did not affect the requirement for employers with more than 50 employees to provide certain minimum health insurance to their employees.  As a result, health-insurance related effects of this tax bill for most public employers will be minimal.

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Two Cases That Will Affect Minnesota Schools

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear two cases this term that will likely have significant impacts on Minnesota schools.  The first case is another challenge to a State law requiring fair-share fees for public sector employees.  An earlier case involving the same type of challenge ended without an opinion from an equally divided Court.  The new case, Janus v. ASFCME Council 31 involves a free-speech based challenge to fair-share fees collected by public sector unions from non-union members.  Oral argument in this case is set for February 26, 2018.

The second case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court originated in Minnesota.  The case, Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, involves a challenge to a Minnesota law that prohibits wearing political apparel in polling places.  Oral argument in the case is scheduled for February 28, 2018.

Stay tuned for further updates on these and other cases that could affect your school.

Come Say Hello! Ratwik Attorneys at MSBA and MASBO

Several Ratwik attorneys will be speaking on school law issues at the MSBA Leadership Conference January 11 and 12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center; as well as at the MASBO Winter Conference on February 8 and 9 at the Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park.  For more information about these and other upcoming presentations, please visit our website.

Congratulations to our Newest Shareholder!

We are pleased to announce that Timothy A. Sullivan has been named shareholder.  Tim represents school districts, counties, and cities in all areas of labor and employment law, general municipal law, and civil litigation.  He also represents clients in state and federal litigation, arbitration and administrative hearings, and frequently serves as an independent investigator in allegations of misconduct by school employees and students.  Tim is a frequent speaker and adviser on all areas of municipal law.  Tim is a 2010 summa cum laude graduate of Hamline University School of Law.