The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Under the ADA and the MHRA, disabled workers are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Deciding what’s reasonable requires an interactive process in which both employer and employee discuss options that allow the employee to perform essen­­tial job functions. The employer then can choose which accommodation it prefers.

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By now, you are probably familiar with the idea your FMLA obligations are triggered when employees provide enough information for you to reasonably understand that they might need FMLA leave. They don’t need to say any “magic words.” It’s the same with requests for reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

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Sometimes, employees quit in a huff over a pay dispute and then try to collect unemployment compensation benefits. They may argue that a pay cut justified their resignation. But unless the reduction is substantial—usually greater than 20% of previous pay—the resignation wouldn’t be justified.

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Before you settle an FLSA claim for what you might consider “peanuts,” remember that any settlement will probably include court-authorized legal fees that you will have to pay to the employee’s lawyers. That’s because any success in collecting unpaid overtime or minimum wages also means the employee who wins that money is entitled to have his legal fees paid.

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A supervisor’s foul temper can alienate employees—and wind up costing an employer big bucks.

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The EEOC sometimes tries to test out new retaliation theories to trip up employers. Its most recent attempt didn’t work.

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Courts hearing unemployment comp cases have recently been friendly to former employees seeking new jobs. However, now that the job market is recovering, some of that sympathy is evaporating. More and more, those seeking unemployment benefits are out of luck if they can’t show they are actively looking for work.

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A bill before the Minnesota House of Representatives would severely curb employers’ ability to force employees to sign noncompete agreements. The legislation, patterned after laws on the books in California and Mon­­tana, would ban a contract that prohibits a party from exercising a lawful, profession, trade, or business except under certain circumstances.

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Employers have no obligation to try to anticipate if a disabled employee needs reasonable accommodations. It’s up to employees to ask for accommodations help.

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Publicly calling an innocent person a criminal can lead to a defamation lawsuit. But what if, during court proceedings, you call a lawsuit a form of blackmail? Is that defamation?

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