The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Have you thought about converting employees into independent contractors to save money? Then make sure you tell them they won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation. If you don’t, they may be eligible.

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When supervisors act out of anger or ignorance, the result is seldom good.

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It’s a benefit designed to retain long-term employees, but the practice of allowing retiring government ­workers to cash out unused leave may turn in­­to an actuarial time bomb. The prob­­lem: Local governments are shedding employees at a record pace, often through early-retirement packages. And the leave liability is largely unfunded.

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Some employees are nothing but trouble. They complain constantly, and even gripes that might have some merit are often exaggerated. However, you must think twice before you summarily terminate such an employee. Reason: You could be falling straight into a retaliation trap. Treat such toxic workers with care.

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Does your health insurance or other benefit plan specifically state that it covers those who are married under Minnesota law? Then your policy terms probably apply in some unique circumstances—including when an employee is married to someone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery.

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Sometimes, an employee needs just a few hours of FMLA leave, for example, to make a doctor’s appointment or to drive a relative to treatment. The employee may find it more convenient to take the entire day off, but you don’t have to allow it. Should the employee not return after the appointment, you are free to treat the absence as unauthorized.

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Summertime is when employers can capitalize on an influx of eager school-age workers looking for seasonal jobs. Summer jobs can be great for both young workers and employers, but you should be mindful of federal and state child labor laws.

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FedEx Ground has agreed to pay $3 million to resolve allegations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) that the company’s hiring practices were discriminatory.

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Delta Airlines has entered into a two-year settlement agreement with OSHA to install seat belts on all company baggage-handling vehicles. An OSHA inspection following an em­­ployee death led to the agreement.

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There’s a good chance that what your employees actually do every day has little in common with what’s written in their job descriptions. That’s a problem. Inaccurate or in­­complete job descriptions can cause legal liability for ­­employers, especially if the EEOC or the DOL comes calling.

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