The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Here’s some good news that will make it easier for employers that want to challenge unemployment compensation claims after firing an employee for misconduct. The HR representative who conducted the investigation can testify about what others said, provided that any written statements are also presented.

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A new 8th Circuit Court of Appeals case allows employers to use an employee’s FMLA certification as the basis for requesting a fitness-for-duty exam if the certification asserts that the employee can’t perform an essential function of her job. That’s especially true in high-pressure professions when an alleged FMLA serious health condition affects an employee’s ability to function while at work.

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Take every internal discrimination complaint seriously—and take quick action, too. Why? If the employee doesn’t think your response was adequate, an EEOC complaint will probably follow. And that can spell big trouble if the EEOC decides to expand its investigation beyond the specifics of the original complaint.

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If you can’t explain how you select candidates or why you hired one applicant instead of another, get ready for court! However, there’s a simple, two-step way to keep from being sued: 1. Create a hiring process that makes sense. 2. Follow it rigorously.

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The Minnesota Nurses Association signed a three-year collective bargaining agreement with 14 Twin Cities hospitals on July 6, just days before a strike deadline set by the union. The hospitals had sought the right to “float” registered nurses to any hospital at any time, but eventually backed off that demand and a proposal to modify nurse pensions.

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Here’s a twist on the already complicated matter of accommodating religious practices in the workplace. Employers might assume that if they come up with an accommodation that resolves the conflict, they have done all that’s required. It’s not that simple.

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Minnetonka-based Opus Corp. and its founder, Gerald Rauenhorst, face charges they illegally shifted corporate funds so they wouldn’t have to pay a subsidiary’s employees and fund their pensions.

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Halunen & Associates will not represent any of the plaintiffs in Gifford v. Target Corp., a major class-action overtime suit, after a federal judge ruled that the firm’s previous contact with a Target official may have revealed privileged company information.

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Chad Jurgens of Big Lake will spend the next five years in the big house after admitting to scheming to defraud his employer, computer hard drive manufacturer Seagate Technologies.

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Minneapolis-St. Paul’s low crime and unemployment rates nudged the Twin Cities past Washington, D.C., and Boston to gain the top spot on Forbes magazine’s best city for working mothers list.

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