The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

On occasion, an employee may be too embarrassed to directly confront sexual harassment. Instead, she may complain to a supervisor about unspecified problems. If the complaints are vague and wouldn’t cause a reasonable person to understand the issue of sexual harassment, the employee will have a hard time winning a lawsuit.

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After an electrical worker suffered severe burns while working on an Illinois wind turbine, OSHA cited the Minnesota company that owns the facility for six willful safety violations.

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The Minnesota Department of Human Services has agreed to pay more than $467,000 to settle an age discrimination complaint filed by retired staffers.

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Employers can’t just ignore it if an employee asks for time off as a religious accommodation. The better approach is to schedule the employee for work and wait for him to request time off for religious observances. Then carefully consider the request, and document your efforts and conclusions.

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The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that employees don’t automatically become eligible for unemployment compensation benefits just because their employer didn’t follow its own progressive disciplinary policy outlined in the employee handbook.

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A former Wells Fargo loan officer in Maple Grove has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for his part in approving $4.3 million in fraudulent loans. The bank took a $1.5 million loss on the deal.

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Six former employees of the Min­ne­apolis Convention Center are suing, alleging the center discriminates based on age and race. Their lawsuit says minority and older workers were held to different standards than other employees.

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Employers must be careful not to give tipped employees too many additional duties to complete before, during or after their tip-generating activities. If more than about 20% of their time is spent on such activities, you may have to pay them the full minimum wage for those hours, regardless of how much they earn in tips during the shift.

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Here’s something to consider when setting pay rates for jobs in different locations and with slightly different responsibilities: Under the Equal Pay Act, employers can set different salaries based on geographically distinct job locations.

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Here’s some help for HR professionals trying to do all they can to safeguard their organization’s exempt/nonexempt employee classifications—especially in an economic climate that requires companies to do more with less:

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