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.
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.
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.
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.
Employers that have call-in procedures for absences can require employees use them when requesting FMLA leave or updating their status. Simply having a doctor fax in medical excuses isn’t enough.
Q. We recently notified employees that we will be cutting pay due to difficult economic times. Then we received an anonymous letter expressing concerns about this decision. It suggested alternatives to pay cuts, such as eliminating our employer 401(k) match. We determined that the letter was written by one employee and edited by another. Can we terminate them?
There are personal, business and legal reasons why a boss friending an employee can lead to trouble.
Q. A former employee called HR asking to review her personnel file. We already let her review her file following termination last year, and nothing has changed in the personnel file since she reviewed it. Can we just tell the former employee “No”? Or can we ask her to pay for a copy of the file for her own records? Our HR manager is going on vacation next week. Can we wait to deal with the former employee’s request until after the human resources manager gets back from vacation?
Q. We recently received a reference request from another company. We would like to be honest with the potential employer about the former employee’s performance issues. The employee was unreliable, did not get along with co-workers, and was always complaining to his supervisor about our business practices without any basis. Are there risks to being honest and giving the employee a bad reference?
Minnetonka, MN-based G&K Services has settled sex discrimination charges leveled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.