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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Sometimes, it’s pretty obvious you need to terminate an employee. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to investigate and document your decision.

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Employees don’t always know to ask specifically for FMLA leave. Some may not even know they are entitled to time off for a serious health condition. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the obvious and discipline a worker for missing work when it’s clear he or she may be entitled to FMLA leave.

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When it comes to paying hourly employees for all hours worked, the best policy is to fix any mistakes as soon as you can. Chances are, doing so will reduce your liability down the line.

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“Can’t we sue them for this?” That’s the sentiment many employers express after being on the receiving end of a lawsuit that they think is based on untrue facts. Although it is never satisfying to be told “that wouldn’t be a good idea,” this is generally the right answer for various reasons.

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The 20-month-long American Crystal Sugar lockout is finally over. In April, 55% of the members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 167G ratified a contract that closely resembles a deal they rejected on four previous votes.

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Waconia-based Applied Vacuum Technologies (AVT) has settled a disability discrimination suit with the EEOC. A former employee had filed the complaint after the company terminated him.

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Minnesota has become the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage, following enactment of legislation that re­­quires employers to provide the same rights to same-sex couples as to opposite-sex couples in terms of health coverage and survivor benefits.

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The NAACP and the advocacy group Take Action Minnesota have accused retail giant Target of unfair hiring practices, alleging that the chain unnecessarily rejects job applicants based on their criminal records.

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Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA. Since then, a primary concern for employers has been how to effectively prepare for the employer mandate requiring most employers to provide health insurance benefits. Although the mandate takes effect in 2014, implementation of several requirements will depend on cir­­cumstances that unfold this year.

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A bill requiring hospitals and other health care facilities to meet target nurse-to-patient ratios has made it out of a Minnesota House of Repre­­sentatives committee. The Standards of Care Act requires hospitals to meet staffing levels recommended by professional nursing specialty organizations.

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