Commercial & Business Law

Over the course of his career, Wiley and been involved in drafting enumerable commercial contracts, and he has litigated many cases concerning contractual interpretation and other contract disputes.  Wiley’s vast experience in More »

Private Investigations


Wiley has conducted workplace investigations for private and public employers throughout the State of Minnesota.  When you engage Wiley, you can be sure that he will independently perform a complete investigation within More »



Wiley is an experienced qualified neutral mediator under Minnesota General Rule of Practice 114.  Wiley’s years of experience in a variety of legal areas makes him the ideal choice to mediate your More »


Civil Rights

Wiley is a local authority on constitutional civil rights law.  He successfully defended and assisted in defending dozens of claims of alleged civil rights violations under Section 1983, (42 U.S.C. 1983), and More »


Family Law

Wiley has had extensive experience in the Minnesota family law courts.  Wiley is focused on providing practical legal advice to clients in these areas, and will develop a plan with each client More »

Downtown Minneapolis Skyline

Labor Law

Wiley has represented clients in labor law matters for the better part of his legal career.  He understands the dynamics between management and labor, and has assisted management in confronting the difficult More »


Employment Law

Wiley has vast employment law experience in the State of Minnesota and nation-wide.  He has advised a diverse variety of clients, from Fortune 500 companies, to regional business, public employers, sole proprietorships, More »

County prevails in interest arbitration

A county client recently prevailed in interest arbitration based on its internal pattern and external standing among its comparator counties.  Key to this decision (attached below), was the county’s relatively small tax capacity.  It was one of the lower ranking counties in its comparator group in that area.  As such, the arbitrator determined that the county was not required to pay an average wage for the comparator group.

Please contact me if you have questions about this arbitration award.


Sherburne County Interest Award TCSLCO

Check out Attorney Wiley’s appearance on a national podcast

See the attached link for my podcast interview with LRIS regarding the potential impact on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Schwanke decision regarding public employee challenges to performance reviews.  Please let me know what you think.  Thanks.


The podcast is online here:


Theft from an employer, even in a small amount, can support discharge

A recent arbitration decision highlights the well-accepted rule that theft from an employer is a serious offense that can support a just cause discharge in a union environment.  In this matter,  management advocate Attorney Wiley also stressed that theft from a public employer — in any amount — rises to the level of felony theft.  The attached award provides very thorough analysis of other arbitration decisions that have held that even a small value theft supports disciplinary discharge.

While there may be circumstances when an employer would not want to necessarily terminate an employee for a small theft, this arbitration authority supports employer-side arguments that discharge is, indeed, an appropriate remedy.  Contact attorney Wiley for representation in your employee misconduct matter.

Cole Arbitration Award

County employer found to have disciplined Corrections Supervisor appropriately

Safe practices in law enforcement are absolutely essential.  In his career, Wiley has seen many examples of law enforcement officers and citizens being seriously injured when critical information is not provided, or is not communicated effectively between law enforcement officers.  One of Wiley’s clients runs one of the largest jails in the State of Minnesota.   The Sheriff’s Office disciplined a supervisor for failing to adequately inform a corrections officer of a dangerous situation in the jail., including that an inmate had made a threat against a corrections officer.  See attached award.  The arbitration award not only shows that the employer carefully considered its level of discipline, but reinforces the importance of communication between members of law enforcement. It is not just a good safety practice; it is an essential job function.

Attorney Greg Wiley represents clients in labor grievance and interest arbitration/  Call him for advice and representation for your next labor case.

Sherburne County Grievance Award Suspension


String of Arbitration and Court Victories for Wiley’s Clients

Recently, my clients have fared very well in court and in arbitration settings.  I’ll be sharing some of these success stories in coming weeks.

First, I’d like to share an interest arbitration award in favor of Sherburne County.  In that matter, Arbitrator Crump ruled in favor of the county on all fronts, including wages, fringe benefits, and proposed language changes.  Wiley credits the victory to the testimony of some very well prepared witnesses and extensive research into the union group’s sought after market adjustment.  With a number of additional arbitration hearings scheduled for this client, this was an important victory in helping to reinforce the county’s settlement pattern.

A full copy of the award is attached.

Sherburne County interest award Licensed Supervisors

MN Supreme Court Data Decision Impacts All Public Employers

In August of last year, I provided training to Minnesota public employers regarding an appeals court case to keep an eye on that held that a public employee could challenge his performance review in a hearing before the Minnesota Department of Administration. On August 6, 2014, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on the issue in a case that will surely impact how public employers conduct performance evaluations going forward.

Schwanke v. Minnesota Department of Administration, No. A12-2062, involved a Steele County sheriff sergeant’s data practice challenge to portions of his performance review. Minn. Stat. 13.04, subdiv. 4(a) has long provided a procedure for Minnesota citizens to file for an administrative hearing to challenge the “accuracy or completeness” of data maintained on that individual by a government entity. The Schwanke case is unusual in that a government employee invoked the statute to challenge the accuracy of information in his performance review, a type of data that had not previously been challenged under the statute.

The Minnesota Department of Administration had dismissed the challenge without proceeding to the merits of Sergeant Schwanke’s claims. The Department noted that it did not have the resources to have hearings for performance review challenges and it did not feel the statute was written to provide hearings for challenges to performance reviews. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed, stressing that the plain language of the statute authorizes a hearing procedure under the circumstances.
The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed, and held that the sergeant could challenge the accuracy and completeness of objective information in the performance review. The Court cited, for instance, that the employee claimed that the employer inaccurately stated that he was assigned to a project, which impacted his review. That sort of factual information can be challenged: “[The] opinions and judgments rest on facts that are objectively verifiable, and thus falsifiable.” An employee may challenge false information that is part of the basis for his or her performance review under Minn. Stat. 13.04, the Court held.

Importantly, in a footnote that could be rather significant, the Court also noted that if a subjective opinion or judgment in a supervisor’s evaluation lacks “completeness,” the employee may challenge the basis for the subjective judgments within a performance review. In my view, this part of the opinion is more troubling and could potentially lead to a multitude of performance review challenges. Employees and supervisors may often disagree about the importance of certain aspects of work the employee performed. This part of the opinion counsels that supervisors should have clearly defined goals and specified rubrics upon which an employee will be evaluated that are clearly communicated to the employee so the employee cannot manufacture other potential work tasks that he or she completed that the employee feels is important, but the supervisor does not.

The Court was careful, however, to note that the subjective decisions of a supervisor (so long as those decisions are based on verifiable and complete facts) cannot be challenged. “[M]ere dissatisfaction with a subjective judgment or opinion cannot support a challenge under the Data Practices Act.” Of course, this is important limiting language. So long as the factual information is accurate, a supervisor’s review should remain intact after a hearing. Now more than ever, supervisors must be careful to conduct clear, accurate, and complete performance reviews, and ensure that their subjective evaluations of an employee’s work are thorough and based on actual and verifiable facts.

It is unclear how Minnesota public employees will use this interpretation of the Data Practices Act. What is clear, however, is that the case will likely lead to legislative clarification in the next session, as the Minnesota Department of Administration is not equipped (or funded) to handle a large volume of performance review challenge hearings. In the interim, public employers must beef up their performance review processes to curtail a flood of challenges, whether those be justified or manufactured.
Please contact me if you have further questions on this case or its impact on your organization.


2013 a banner year for The Wiley Law Office, P.C. 2014 promises even more…

This past year I had the pleasure of providing legal advice, representation, investigations, and training for individuals in Minnesota and Illinois, regional corporations, and national corporations with a presence in Minnesota.  Recently, I secured retainer agreements to provide work for three of the largest employers in the State of Minnesota, guaranteeing the continued success and vitality of the firm.

I am currently developing a state of the art program on employment investigations.  Look for that in the second half of 2014.

I look forward to helping you with your legal needs in the coming year.


Anti-Harassment Training as important as ever

Attorney Wiley reminds Minnesota employers that training your employees about sexual, racial, and protected-class harassment is an important part of a successful defense against lawsuits.   Here is what the Human Resources Director of a large local municipality had to say about Wiley’s training performed in the fall of 2013:

Attorney Wiley provided respectful workplace training to all City employees that was customized to our policies and procedures.  The training was well-received and I feel confident our employees are now well versed in what is acceptable behavior and what is not, both according to our policies and the law.

Alecia, Human Resources Director

Contact me at 612.991.9570 or to schedule your organization’s training.



Public Employees must abide by Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Law

A number of my public clients have posed an interesting question about the new same-sex marriage law in Minnesota:  What if an employee in a public licensing office refuses to provide a marriage license to a same-sex couple on the basis that same-sex marriage conflicts with the public employee’s religious beliefs?

Though this presents an interesting legal issue, the answer is fairly straightforward based on application of the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Minnesota Chapter 363A, as discussed below.  Some background first:

New Law.  On August 1, 2013, the definition of marriage in Minnesota will change.  “Civil marriage,” will be defined as a “civil contract between two persons,” in Minn. Stat. § 517.01  (marriage is currently defined as “a civil contract between a man and a woman”).  Aside from the employee benefits implications, which are largely governed by federal law issues that are currently before the United States Supreme Court, public employers that have marriage licensing divisions will be confronted with a variety of legal issues, and presumably increased demand, based on the change in law.

Public Accommodation.  Entities that provide public services may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, under the public accommodations section of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.  Under Minn. Stat. § 363A.11, “Public Accommodations” “[i]t is an unfair discriminatory practice . . . to deny any person the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation because of . . . sexual orientation [among other protected classes].”  Minn. Stat. § 363A.11, subdiv. 1(a)(1).  Violators are subject to civil suit and, in an oft overlooked portion of the statute, guilty of a misdemeanor under Minn. Stat. § 363A.30, subdiv. 4.

No Applicable Exemptions.  Although there are specific listed exemptions for public accommodations in Minn. Stat. § 363A.24, primarily related to public restrooms, locker rooms and same-sex sports teams, there is, not surprisingly, no exemption for a public employee’s religious belief in the new law.  Similarly, the religious association exemptions listed in Minn. Stat. § 363A.26 do not apply to public entities.  Religious entities and their employees will not be required to provide goods or services in connection with a same-sex marriage if doing so would violate sincerely held religious beliefs.  But again, public employers are not subject to these exemptions.


Discipline Permitted.  Accordingly, it would be a violation of the law for a Minnesota public entity to deny a marriage license to a same-sex couple as of August 1, 2013. Public employees, of course, are acting on behalf of their public employer.  Public employers may, therefore, require that their public employees provide marriage licenses to all applicants, including same sex applicants.  Based on the change in law, public employers may (and should) discipline employees who refuse to provide such licenses as of August 1, 2013, even if such refusal is based on a professed religious belief.


Carver County prevails in Interest Arbitration with Law Enforcement Personnel

On January 7, 2013, Arbitrator Christine Ver Ploeg submitted an arbitration award involving Teamsters Local 320, representing forty-two law enforcement personnel in the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.  The bargaining unit consisted of 29 detention deputies, 12 911 Dispatchers, and one Terminal Agency Coordinator.  Bargaining issues included wages for calendar years 2012 and 2013, range movement, severance, uniform allowance, shift differential, and whether a market adjustment was warranted for certain bargaining unit employees.
Arbitrator Ver Ploeg prefaced her award by noting two principles underlying interest arbitration: (1) that an arbitrator is to determine what the parties would have negotiated had they reached agreement at the bargaining table or to settle a strike, and (2) that arbitrators should avoid arbitration awards that significantly alter a bargaining unit’s internal or external standing “unless there are compelling reasons to do so.”  These prefatory remarks seem to indicate a bias towards the status quo, which was later borne out in the award.
Moreover, in response to the union’s argument that the employer had the ability to pay the union’s proposed increases, the arbitrator cited Minn. Stat. 179A.16, subd. 7, which requires interest arbitrators to consider the “obligations of public employers to efficiently manage and conduct their operations within the legal limitations surrounding the financing of these operations.”  This has become a common, and successful, counter to union arguments when an employer clearly has the funds to make the proposed wage and compensation increases.  With respect to financial health, the union cited healthy reserves and bond ratings.  The county countered that local government aid from the state will likely be curtailed, the county had implemented labor cost reducing measures, and that its reserves were declining.  Though the arbitrator noted that Carver County’s financial health was stronger than many Minnesota counties, she noted that the county “must be financially responsible and its expenditures must be sustainable.”
The arbitrator cited that the county’s position was consistent with internal pattern increases, but did not provide significant analysis on that point.  Externally, the arbitrator compared Carver County with Anoka, Dakota, Scott, Washington, and Wright counties. Though she noted that Carver County was smaller than these comparators, she stated that Carver County’s wages were competitive, and it did not have “difficulty attracting and retaining employees in this bargaining unit.”
On the wage issue, the union sought 4% increases in 2012 and 2013, an additional 7% market increase for Dispatchers at the top of their wage scale, and a 4.5% step increase for employees.  The county proposed a .5% increase to the wage scale and a 1% wage increase effective July 2, 2012, and a 1.25% increase to the wage scale and a 1.75% wage increase effective July 1, 2013, with no market adjustment for dispatchers.  Arbitrator Ver Ploeg adopted Carver County’s position, noting that the award was consistent with internal comparisons — 91% of Carver County employees (all but the Teamsters’ units) had agreed to the same pattern.  The award also preserved the county’s practice of treating all bargaining units and non-union employees the same.  The arbitrator determined that the dispatchers did not require a market adjustment based on external comparisons.
The arbitrator included an extended discussion about the parties’ disparate recollections about the future of step increases, and determined that the union’s position that county’s suspended step increases were to resume was not supported by the evidence.  Moreover, the arbitrator did not change: the county’s severance schedule, the unit members’ uniform allowances, or the shift differential, finding that all of the current contract provisions were fair based on internal and external comparisons.
This Carver County Arbitration award in an excellent result for the county, and the arguments therein should be quite helpful for employer-side interest arbitrations in 2013.