The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Employees who testify in an internal investigation, an agency in­­vestigation or in court are protected from retaliation whether or not they belong to the same protected classification as the employee whose case their testimony supports.

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The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently ran an investigative report showing how easily Minnesota nurses can evade background check requirements and how few face discipline for serious misconduct. Now the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) has come out in favor of tougher standards.

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Five former employees of Min­­ne­­tonka’s Equity Bank have agreed to a settlement in a lawsuit that alleged that the bank’s CEO barraged them with vulgar tirades, threatened to burn down their houses, kill them and dismember their children.

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Someone who is fired for breaking a workplace rule isn’t entitled to unemployment benefits. That’s because rule-breaking is misconduct. But if the rule is unclear, all bets are off.

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Long-running negotiations in the Minnesota Orchestra lockout broke down in November after musicians’ representatives walked out of negotiations to resolve disputes about staffing, pay and artistic differences.

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An effective sexual harassment policy that includes prompt investigation of any complaints of physical touching is key to prevailing in a sexual harassment lawsuit. What should your policy include?

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Avoid costly litigation by reviewing how you classify your em­­ployees as exempt or nonexempt. If you discover you have made a mistake, fix it right away. You’ll cut your misclassification liability.

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Nothing will get you in trouble faster than discipline that’s harsher for members of some classes than others. That’s especially true in cases where someone has been accused of violating anti-violence policies.

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You can terminate an employee for missing work because he had to spend the night in jail. He won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits because the firing was for misconduct related to regular attendance.

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Former employees who collect unemployment benefits while working part-time jobs must report that income.

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