The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Here’s an important reminder to pass along to managers and supervisors: Simply dismissing a disabled employee’s request for accommodations is folly unless it is crystal clear that no accommodation is possible.

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Soldiers who take military leave for active service or training are generally entitled to return to their jobs when they finish their military service. They even have protection from being terminated without cause if they served long enough. But USERRA does not protect employees who fail to follow existing company rules when they return or try to return.

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Soldiers who take military leave for active service or training are generally entitled to return to their jobs when they finish their military service. They even have protection from being terminated without cause if they served long enough. But USERRA does not protect employees who fail to follow existing company rules when they return or try to return.

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Employers have the right to ex­­­pect everyone to behave ap­­pro­­pri­­ately at work. That includes employees with mental disabilities who may have trouble with communication and perception. What that means: You are free to punish inappropriate behavior regard­less of its cause.

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Employers know they are supposed to provide their employees with in­­­­for­mation about how to handle discrimination or harassment. Most employers put up a poster on a break room bulletin board to outline the process. This simple practice can prove invaluable when an employee tries to use ignorance as an excuse for not complaining right away.

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Employers have a right to expect em­­ployees to follow the work rules laid out for them. Employees who are terminated for breaking those rules won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation because it was their fault they were discharged.

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Some employees need FMLA leave to cope with work stress. But that doesn’t mean that employers can’t punish someone who makes threats.

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Fortunately for employers, courts measure a hostile work environment against the “reasonable employee” standard. If a reasonable employee would not find the conduct hostile, then it doesn’t matter how intensely a particular employee reacts to allegedly hostile acts. The idea behind the standard is to protect employers from exaggerated claims, especially when it is clear the employer took the allegations seriously and moved to prevent further problems.

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Watch out if a supervisor starts keeping extra-close tabs on an employee’s work in the wake of declining productivity or a poor review. You must make sure all employees in a similar situation get the same close attention.

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The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to expand the ways in which employees who are passed over for promotions can sue. It turned down a request to allow a lawsuit alleging that previously denied promotions could be considered as evidence of bias in later promotion denials.

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