The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

The FMLA is supposed to protect employees from losing their jobs when they can’t work due to a serious health condition. Minor maladies such as colds, headaches and body aches usually aren’t enough to merit protected leave. That’s true even if the employee goes to a doctor and gets a prescription, unless the health care provider also tells the worker to return within 30 days for a follow up or otherwise actively monitors the illness.

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Target, the country’s third largest retailer, has announced it will cut 1,400 jobs from its Twin Cities’ headquarters. Falling sales, losses from an unsuccessful expansion into Canada and last year’s massive data breach have been cited as reasons for the downsizing.

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Be sure your job announcements list minimum qualifications applicants must have. That way, if someone who lacks the right background sues, the case can quickly be dismissed.

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Employees who are forced to work under conditions that leave them little choice but to quit can still sue, alleging they were constructively discharged. You can prevent those suits by transferring the employee who says he is being harassed to another equivalent job.

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Government workers have more protections than other employees when it comes to termination. For example, if a public employee is falsely charged with some form of misconduct, she may have a l­awsuit. By all means, resist the temptation to make an example out of the fired employee.

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Before rejecting a disabled employee’s request for additional time off as a reasonable accommodation, consider whether the time would allow the employee to return. If not, you probably won’t have to provide the additional leave.

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Remind supervisors that when it comes to age discrimination, what they say matters. They should never comment directly on age, and should avoid references to “generational differences” or anything else that might be construed as code for age discrimination.

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A supervisor’s single threat leading to a salary deduction could cost your company millions.

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In April 2012, the EEOC issued comprehensive guidance addressing the use of an applicants’ criminal history in hiring, which it further clarified in March 2014. The guidance offers details and hypotheticals regarding situations when excluding an applicant based on his or her arrest or conviction record could constitute discrimination based on race or national origin in violation of Title VII.

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You probably receive at least occasional requests from current and former employees to view or receive a copy of their personnel file. This sounds like a straightforward request. But must an employer produce all documents in the employee’s “file?” Must information that may not be in an employee’s file be produced?

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