The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Don’t rely on job descriptions to counter claims that you violated the Equal Pay Act. How the job is actually performed counts much more.

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The former president of Pinehurst Bank in St. Paul will serve 42 months in federal prison following convictions on five counts of misapplying bank funds in a 2010 check-kiting scheme. The resulting losses forced the bank to close in May 2010.

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The federal government, most states and some municipalities all have agencies charged with enforcing employment laws. Employers are most likely to have contact with agencies that enforce anti-discrimination laws. How you deal with those enforcement agencies when discrimination charges surface matters a lot.

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While a man who wears dresses and makeup might make his orientation or self-image perception clear, that’s not true of a woman who dresses like a man, at least not according to a recent 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

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Not every complaint about what might be construed as a benefit amounts to protected activity under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

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New York Mills-based Lund Boat and parent company Brunswick Corp. have agreed to settle sex discrimination charges filed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

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The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has redesigned four required workplace posters. The new posters cover safety and health regulations, wage and overtime law, age discrimination and retirement and procedures injured employees should follow at work.

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In Minnesota, employees can sometimes qualify for unemployment compensation if they quit because they had to endure tough working conditions. But that’s only true if they let their employer know about workplace problems and the employer doesn’t respond. Simply walking off the job in anger doesn’t cut it.

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Courts usually defer to an em­­ployer’s designations of essential job functions as long as there’s a clear, reasonable explanation of why they are essential. That’s true even in compelling ADA cases where it’s clear a disabled employee is capable and could do the job if only she didn’t have to perform just one of those functions.

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Do you have a standard hiring rule that effectively screens out some job applicants? If so, scrap it. Instead, consider each applicant on his or her merits, especially if the rule could harm applicants with certain disabilities.

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