The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

In recent years, employees have begun filing more and more “caregiver” or “family responsibility” discrimination lawsuits. No federal or Minnesota law specifically addresses discrimination against caregivers. However, treating employees with caregiving responsibilities differently than other employees may violate various employment laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA, the FMLA and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

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When Elizabeth Johnson complained about unsafe working conditions at the Northland Learning Center, a cooperative of alternative schools for children with disabilities in Minnesota’s Iron Range, her boss took no action. Frustrated, Johnson wrote an anonymous letter to the local newspaper outlining the problems. That got the school’s attention …

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When Elizabeth Johnson complained about unsafe working conditions at the Northland Learning Center, a cooperative of alternative schools for children with disabilities in Minnesota’s Iron Range, her boss took no action. Frustrated, Johnson wrote an anonymous letter to the local newspaper outlining the problems. That got the school’s attention …

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You naturally expect people to show up for work on time. But you could get into trouble if you don’t have a written policy saying so. Having written rules makes it more likely employees will understand your expectations.

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You naturally expect people to show up for work on time. But you could get into trouble if you don’t have a written policy saying so. Having written rules makes it more likely employees will understand your expectations.

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Here’s some good news if you use truly independent contractors to perform work. If you have done it right, you don’t have to worry about losing an age discrimination lawsuit. But there’s a caveat: You must make sure you can easily prove your contractor wasn’t really an employee.

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When you hire someone, you have presumably concluded that the new employee has met at least the minimum requirements for job success. Of course, sometimes that turns out to be wrong. But think twice if you’re tempted to fire an employee who isn’t working out, and that person is your first-ever employee belonging to a particular protected class.

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Employees who are called to active military service have certain job protections, including the right to return to their old or similar jobs. But those rights have limits. The law doesn’t require reinstating a veteran to her old job at the same facility where she worked before if the employer no longer has jobs there.

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Things started out rocky last November for American Building Maintenance (ABM), a nationwide janitorial services conglomerate, when ICE agents busted it for employing 1,200 undocumented workers. Bad turned to worse in January when the EEOC filed a complaint against ABM, alleging race discrimination against black workers hired last fall through a nonprofit Minneapolis employment agency called Emerge.

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The owner of a Hermantown construction company observed one of his workers in a trench performing his job incorrectly. So to get his attention, he nudged him … with the backhoe. The owner was charged with second-degree assault.

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