The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

A long-running legal battle between a former women’s golf coach and the University of Minnesota has taken another turn. According to the golf coach’s attorney, problems began when the head of the university’s golf program found out that the new women’s coach was gay.

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Mankato-based Baywood Home Care faces a charge that it discriminated against a home health care aide who has fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. The EEOC has filed suit against the company, alleging it relied on stereotypes of disabled persons when it decided to fire the woman.

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Taking a page from the Democratic Party’s midterm election playbook, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill raising the state minimum wage. The state’s current minimum wage of $6.15 per hour is below the federal rate of $7.25.

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The ACA health care reform law amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide a place for nursing mothers to express breast milk. The law includes specific requirements the space must meet to comply.

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Sometimes a case that looks like it will end in a win for the employer ends in a surprise adverse jury verdict. Before you despair, remember that it’s not over. There may be room for a reversal.

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While most Minnesota employers can no longer ask about an applicant’s criminal record until after the grant of a job interview offer (or, if there is no interview, a conditional employment offer), that doesn’t mean the applicant or new employee can lie about his criminal record later.

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Although a stray comment alone may not be enough to prove discrimination, when coupled with other evidence—like a younger individual hired to perform a similar or the same job as someone older who was terminated—the comment may come back to haunt you.

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To stay out of the cross-hairs, review your separation agreements and revise any language that could be seen as too broad.

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Q. We require all employees to provide us with bank account information so we can direct-deposit their pay. One of our employees has refused and has told us that she is not required accept electronic deposits of her pay. Is the employee correct?

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Former public employees who claim they were fired in retaliation for reporting alleged illegal activity can sue for retaliation under the Minnesota whistle-blower law. But, they must start their lawsuit within two years of first being notified that their job will be eliminated.

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