The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

The U.S. Labor Department has filed suit against White Bear Lake-based Northwest Title, alleging the company failed to pay prevailing wages when it handled real estate closings for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The company held the HUD contract from April 2010 to April 2012.

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Employees may begin suspecting that their job is in danger before management has a chance to implement a discharge decision. That’s when you can expect them to complain about harassment or discrimination. Or, in Minnesota, they may request a copy of their personnel file to see what’s in it and prepare for a potential lawsuit. Beat that strategy by carefully documenting the discharge process.

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Here’s some disturbing news, courtesy of the Minnesota Supreme Court: When a supervisor threatens an employee with punishment or discharge for filing a workers’ compensation claim, that threat alone is grounds for a lawsuit.

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Ohio-based shoe retailer DSW has agreed to pay $900,000 to seven former managers who were let go during the recession. The settlement covers DSW activities at its home office and throughout its Midwest region, which includes Minnesota.

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Buffalo, Minn.-based Izza Bending Tube & Wire has settled a retaliation suit filed by the EEOC. The suit alleged an employee had her salary cut, was demoted, laid off and ultimately terminated after she refused to discriminate against a black employee.

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Q. We have a short-term project coming up that is going to require some of our hourly, nonexempt employees to work some extra weekend hours. We are thinking we might pay them a higher rate to work on the weekends to encourage employees to volunteer and to reward them. Is there anything we should be keeping in mind before we do that?

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Brooklyn Park may become the first city in Minnesota to offer paid parental leave to its employees.

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Some employees seem to think that their employer can’t punish them for violating company rules if they happen to be on FMLA leave when their employer finds out. They think the FMLA protects them broadly from consequences. For­­tu­­nately, that’s just not true.

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Companies are facing an aging population, prolonged careers and heightened discrimination risks. How do you create effective succession plans given these factors?

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Rudeness is likely to sneak into the workplace no matter how many civility rules you post. Unless the behavior is clearly abusive or obviously offensive to a protected class, don’t lose too much sleep over a potential lawsuit.

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