The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

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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It happens regularly: An employee is facing escalating discipline and fears for her job—so she files a surprise sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuit, hoping to stop her firing. But you can fire her—if you can provide complete disciplinary records to justify that the decision had nothing to do with her complaint.

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A federal appeals court has overturned a case that had been dismissed because an employee couldn’t prove that her employer knew she was pregnant. The court clarified that the capacity to become pregnant is at the heart of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

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A federal court in Minnesota has invoked Texas law to rewrite a noncompete agreement that it decided was too broad.

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Employees who don’t call off work as company rules require may be guilty of misconduct. That means they lose the right to unemployment compensation if they are fired.

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