The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Tim Murnane left real estate development firm Opus Northwest in June 2009 after negotiating a $2 million severance package to be paid out over 10 years. Murnane took a new position with St. Louis-based Clayco Inc., another developer in the Twin Cities area. All was going well until March, when a scheduled $79,266 payment from Opus failed to arrive in Murnane’s mailbox …

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When Congress raised the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots from 60 to 65, not all pilots were pleased. Pilots who had been forced to retire under the 60-years-of-age rule were not grandfathered into the new system. Now the pilots are seeking back pay and lost wages under state laws and the Federal Tort Claims Act.

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Once you’ve made the tough decision to terminate an employee, stick to it. If you let the employee talk you into reconsidering, you may end up with a lawsuit over whether a contract had been created.

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Employers have a new primer from the EEOC on how to craft legally compliant severance agreements. Although Understanding Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Employee Severance Agreements was designed to answer employee questions about severance agreements, it offers useful guidance to employers, too.

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Schwan’s, the Marshall-based frozen food company, must turn over data requested by the EEOC in a long-running sex discrimination case. Judge Janie Myeron ruled in favor of the EEOC’s subpoena requesting demographic data on employees who have entered the company’s management trainee program.

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It’s simply impossible to prevent all sexual harassment incidents. But you can take steps to protect your organization from most sexual harassment lawsuits. Make sure your sexual harassment reporting policy is clear, specific and well publicized.

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According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota lost 30,000 union jobs last year, and the rate of union membership statewide declined a full percentage point from 16.1% to 15.1%.

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According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota lost 30,000 union jobs last year, and the rate of union membership statewide declined a full percentage point from 16.1% to 15.1%.

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Sometimes, all it takes to stop a potential lawsuit based on a supervisor’s poor behavior is a timely warning. Take, for example, what might happen if a subordinate believed her supervisor was targeting her for poor treatment because of her race. If HR takes a strong stance and persuades the supervisor to change her approach, then a potential lawsuit may dissolve into nothing.

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Lately, the EEOC has been on a campaign to stamp out discrimination based on religion—especially discrimination related to religious dress. As part of that effort, the EEOC has focused on employment agencies, demanding that they do more to ensure that the employers they refer temporary workers to aren’t biased. Now the 8th Circuit has reined in the EEOC a bit—for the time being.

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