The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

If your business doesn’t operate 24/7, you probably shut down just about everything at some point during the night. That’s especially common with retail operations. If that shutdown includes resetting the time clocks to automatically clock out everyone, you may be courting a lawsuit.

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The Minneapolis personal insurance office of banking giant Wells Fargo has agreed to settle an EEOC race and national origin discrimination claim.

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Q. We have a male employee in our accounting department. He recently told us that he plans to start presenting himself as female and is thinking of undergoing surgery to transform to a female. We think we will have employees who are really uncomfortable with this situation, so we are wondering if we can terminate our accounting employee or if this might get us into trouble?

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Here’s a reminder that you should not ignore complaints about workplace harassment—or promise to take action but then fail to follow through. Not only may this mean a discrimination or harassment lawsuit, but the employee could quit and qualify for unemployment compensation, too.

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Courts don’t like it when insurers try to use technicalities to limit benefits.

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When the EEOC gets wind of alleged discrimination, it is free to investigate that practice and sue the employer—all without naming an actual victim.

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With few exceptions, hourly employees are entitled to pay for all time worked. Paid time can include the time it takes to put on specialized equipment and clothing and walk to a workstation. If you rely on an inaccurate formula to calculate that time, a jury may correct your mistake for all similarly situated employees—and a judge may double the amount owed for unpaid time.

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Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture maker IKEA will soon give a pay raise averaging $1.59 per hour to its lowest-paid U.S. employees. The move, affecting about half the company’s workforce of 11,000, will raise IKEA’s average minimum wage to $10.76.

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Some employees mistakenly believe that if they can just get FMLA leave approved, their employer can’t discharge them. Fortunately, that’s not true.

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Minnesota employees who believe they were punished for refusing to engage in illegal activities can sue under two distinct but related laws. First, they may have a claim under Minnesota’s Whistleblower Act. Second, they can sue under the state common law for wrongful discharge. Each law has a different standard.

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