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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Before you authorize disciplinary action against an employee who has just complained about discrimination or harassment, prepare for a legal fight. If you follow through and the employee sues, few courts will quickly dismiss the case.

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When cupid’s arrow flies between co-workers, it can lead to head­­­­aches—and sometimes lawsuits—for employers. So how can employers avoid trouble without getting overly wrapped up in romantic entanglements?

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The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the case of UNITE HERE Local 355 v. Mulhall, which questioned whether a neutrality agreement in which the employer agreed to remain neutral on union organizing efforts violated the LMRA. For now, the question remains unresolved.

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The NLRB has determined that retail giant Walmart threatened retaliation against employees considering staging protests on Black Friday in 2012.

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In order to be binding, an agreement to arbitrate employment-related complaints needs to spell out the process. Employees (and former employees who signed the agreement) should not be left in the dark about how the process works. But you don’t have to include a specific contact person.

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If you can show that the financial and logistical costs are unreasonably high, you don’t have to extend time off as an ADA reasonable accommodation.

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Some employees aren’t very reliable. They call in sick with the slightest excuses—some­­times, right before you are about to discipline them for absenteeism. But what if your employee claims she had a medical emergency and that she has a doctor’s excuse?

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The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for 2012 contains good news. The results showed just a slight uptick in injuries from the all-time low posted in 2011.

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Text messages make communication easy and convenient, but casual comments dashed off electronically may come back to haunt you. That’s why you should remind employees that texts should be composed with the same careful deliberation as letters and memos.

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Employers aren’t required to prevent all harassment—just to stop it when it happens and take reasonable preventive steps. Two of those: Providing anti-harassment training to every employee and tracking who gets that training.

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