The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

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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On May 29, Gov. Mark Dayton signed Minnesota’s new medical mari­­juana bill into law. Unlike similar laws in other states, this law specifically amends a state law—the Minne­­sota Con­­trolled Substance Act—to carve out exemptions for those permitted to use medical marijuana.

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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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After an employee has been fired, he or she often looks for a reason to sue. Something as innocuous as having used FMLA leave may then become the basis for a lawsuit as the former employee looks for any reason to get into court and perhaps negotiate a quick settlement.

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Sometimes, it makes sense for a business to reduce costs. One way may be to cut personnel, especially employees who are highly compensated and whose work may be redundant. A danger, of course, is that the most highly paid may be older workers, and terminating them may prompt an age discrimination lawsuit.

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