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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Someone who is fired for breaking a workplace rule isn’t entitled to unemployment benefits. That’s because rule-breaking is misconduct. But if the rule is unclear, all bets are off.

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Long-running negotiations in the Minnesota Orchestra lockout broke down in November after musicians’ representatives walked out of negotiations to resolve disputes about staffing, pay and artistic differences.

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An effective sexual harassment policy that includes prompt investigation of any complaints of physical touching is key to prevailing in a sexual harassment lawsuit. What should your policy include?

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Nothing will get you in trouble faster than discipline that’s harsher for members of some classes than others. That’s especially true in cases where someone has been accused of violating anti-violence policies.

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Avoid costly litigation by reviewing how you classify your em­­ployees as exempt or nonexempt. If you discover you have made a mistake, fix it right away. You’ll cut your misclassification liability.

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Former employees who collect unemployment benefits while working part-time jobs must report that income.

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You can terminate an employee for missing work because he had to spend the night in jail. He won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits because the firing was for misconduct related to regular attendance.

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There’s only so much you can do to prevent a racially hostile work environment. Fortunately, courts understand those limitations and won’t hold it against you—provided you acted in good faith to stop harassment.

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While it’s unpleasant and unproductive, having a supervisor scream at subordinates isn’t grounds for a race discrimination lawsuit if he never uses racially offensive words.

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As technology becomes more and more intrusive, today’s employees naturally wonder how far their employers can pry. Carefully weigh whether any form of employee surveillance is right for your organization. 

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