The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

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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Surprise! If you reasonably believe an employee who’s out on FMLA leave broke a workplace rule, you can fire him—even if it turns out you were wrong.

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Three fired female drivers filed gender discrimination complaints with the EEOC against Prince Abdul-Rahman and Crown Prince Limousine and its owner. Following the EEOC’s unsuccessful attempt to mediate the complaint, the women have now filed suit in federal court.

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Courts are getting tough on employees who file multiple lawsuits in different forums by requiring consolidation into one court. Employees who don’t cooperate end up out of court.

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Good news for employers faced with a former employee who tries to add defamation to his case based on alleged employer misrepresentation. What you say to an agency like the EEOC can’t be grounds for a separate defamation action.

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Good news for cost-conscious employers: The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employer is free to change how it designates the workweek as long as it does so “permanently”—even if the sole reason is to reduce overtime pay.

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Some workers aren’t terribly diligent about finding work once they are laid off and deemed eligible for unemployment compensation. A court has ruled that a good-faith effort to find work certainly requires more than a handful of hours a week making phone calls and searching the web.

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Two former Hilton Minneapolis bartenders are suing the downtown hotel, claiming they were punished for spurning a female manager’s sexual overtures and then complaining about sexual harassment.

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Minneapolis janitors working for Diversified Maintenance Systems have received conditional class-action status in an FLSA lawsuit that alleges the company orchestrated a timecard switching scheme designed to avoid paying overtime.

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