The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Q. An employee brought to the attention of his supervisor that a co-worker had posted a comment on social media saying that her supervisor is Scrooge, that the supervisor is probably planning to fire a bunch of people right before the holidays, and that everyone should complain about her unfair behavior so that the supervisor is the one who will get fired. The company has a social media policy that prohibits making disparaging comments about it or its employees. Can the company discipline the posting co-worker for these comments?

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Q. At our company holiday party, which was not at the workplace or during work hours, an employee told some inappropriate jokes and put an arm around a co-worker who did not appreciate it and complained. The company is aware that the employee took a leave of absence for treatment of chemical dependency and is concerned that the employee might have been drinking at the party. Can the company discipline the employee? The company would like the employee to get additional help for chemical dependency.

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Q. We have an employee who was employed with our company from May, 2010 until April, 2011. The employee was rehired in 2015 and worked approximately nine months. Has the employee satisfied the requirement of 12 months of employment despite the three-year gap in employment under the FMLA?

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Q. We terminated an employee’s employment because of a recent conviction. A state agency has asked for details about the reason for the termination. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, what can we share with the agency regarding details on background checks?

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Money left for workers in places where tipping is typical becomes the property of the workers for which the money is intended. If employees tell you that the money is disappearing and that a supervisor is responsible, check out the allegations.

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Are you settling a discrimination case with termination and a back or front pay agreement? Be sure to work with counsel to find the most effective way to apply the payment. Done properly, a back pay or front pay lump sum may mean the employee can’t collect unemployment compensation payments.

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Employees terminated for dishonesty aren’t entitled to unemployment compensation benefits. And being dishonest can involve breaking company rules to gain an advantage even if there’s no direct theft involved. Just be sure that before you terminate the worker for breaking the rule, you document the incident and can explain why you believe she acted dishonestly.

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Sometimes, applicants don’t know how much money to ask for. That’s especially true if their target employer isn’t open about salary ranges or how much it is willing to pay for a particular job. What should you do if an applicant is asking for less money than the position potentially pays?

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Make sure that any entity you hire to conduct fitness-for-duty exams understands their responsibility to exclude genetic information requests from the determination. Otherwise, you may be liable for Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act violations. The employee doesn’t have to add the providers to the lawsuit.

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Most employers are aware that certain dress and grooming practices generally must be accommodated in the workplace.

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