The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Just because religion was mentioned at work doesn’t mean you will lose a religious harassment lawsuit.

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If your workplace appears to be dominated by men—especially at the highest levels of the company—then that could hurt your efforts to defend against a sex discrimination lawsuit. Fortunately, all other factors being equal, it won’t be a game-changer.

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The intermingling of personal and business computing is creating traps for employers. What are you allowed to see, alter, delete … and take?

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Q. One of our employees requested that we accommodate his health condition by allowing him to occasionally work from home. We are concerned that this arrangement will cause his colleagues to become disgruntled. May we deny the request for this reason? If not, what information may we share with the employee’s colleagues so that they are more understanding of the situation?

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Employers have the right to expect their employees will generally show up for and leave work as scheduled. Workers who, without a good reason, are frequently late or leave early aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation if they’re fired. Those absences, even if largely unintentional, are misconduct.

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A federal court considering a claim that the Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in hiring against those “associated” with a disabled Minnesotan has hinted that, in the right circumstances, it would entertain such a lawsuit.

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If you don’t act to prevent off-the-clock work, you could wind up having to defend against multiple lawsuits. That’s because, even if a nationwide class action suit isn’t certified, employees who weren’t involved in an initial lawsuit can sue on their own.

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The National Labor Relations Board has ruled against Love Culture, purveyor of teen clothing, after it fired an employee from its St. Louis Park, Minn. store for discussing pay.

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On July 6, the U.S. Department of Labor published a 295-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking public comments on proposed changes to the “white collar” overtime exemption regulations. The comment period closed on Sept. 4. The DOL proposes specific changes to the salary level requirements for the majority of the white collar exemptions and also seeks commentary regarding potential changes to the duties tests for the exemptions.

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Employers have the right to set reasonable call-off requirements for when an employee will miss a shift or arrive late. Employees can be required to follow those rules. If someone doesn’t, you can discipline him—even if you approved FMLA leave for the absence. But beware: If you don’t consistently enforce the call-off rule, you may be on the losing end of an FMLA lawsuit.

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