The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

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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A former employee at the Twin Cities Norwegian consulate is asking the country to pay her legal fees after she won a $270,000 equal pay judgment. A federal judge ruled that the woman was paid $30,000 less than a male employee performing comparable work.

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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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Employers that don’t pay men and women the same for substantially identical work violate the Equal Pay Act (EPA). The employer’s intent doesn’t matter. What matters is that the pay is unequal. The EPA is a strict liability statute, as one of the world’s most gender-equitable nations learned when it was sued in Minnesota.

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You might not always like what they tell you, but one thing you don’t need to be wary of is a lawsuit.

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Panchero’s Mexican Grill in Bloom­­ing­­ton faces charges it fired white workers who worked as line cooks because of their race. The fired workers claim managers openly stated they preferred white workers for management jobs, but wanted only Mexi­­cans for line positions.

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An employee who loses a lawsuit over her termination can’t revive the litigation a second time just by coming up with a second claim that could have been raised earlier.

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If you are in the health care industry and have several facilities, it might be convenient to have one union represent all your employees. Just don’t expect the National Labor Relations Board to buy that argument.

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St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman talked up the city’s paid leave program at the White House just ahead of Presi­­dent Obama’s State of the Union. Effective Jan. 1, city employees may now take paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Birth parents receive four weeks of paid leave.

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The Hertz car rental operation at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport faces charges it discriminated against Mus­­lim employees and harassed them. The employees, who worked cleaning vehicles, claimed managers would routinely walk in on their prayers de­­manding to see the employees’ badges.

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