The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

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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Social media is on the rise, creating many questions for employers. Should we use social media to develop business or recruit new talent? Should we let employees use Facebook and Twitter at work? What restrictions do we need? Can we monitor off-duty conduct? And what are the potential liabilities?

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Many employers have adopted so-called zero-tolerance rules prohibiting any kind of violence at work. The reason: Getting rid of violent employees is crucial to maintaining a safe work environment. But be careful how you enforce the rule. If you ever make exceptions, you’re asking for a lawsuit.

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It’s the employment law case everyone is watching. A massive, long-running gender pay discrimination class action against Walmart has overcome another hurdle on its way to what could become the largest payout to employees in U.S. history. The plaintiffs—potentially 1.5 million women who have worked at 3,400 Walmart stores—got a victory in April when the full panel 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead for the case to proceed.

 

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Some employees think they can behave like jerks at work without any consequences—as long as they don’t harass co-workers. You don’t have to put up with that kind of nonsense. Instead, institute clear rules against such behavior. Put them in your employee handbook. Then enforce those rules—up to and including firing those who just won’t change their ways.

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The National Association for Female Executives has named General Mills as one of the top 10 firms for women leaders. General Mills made the list because the company’s top five earners are women.

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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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Two Minnesota icons have been named to Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. Employees claim the Mayo Clinic provides the best possible care for its patients and has the same attitude toward its employees. Food conglomerate General Mills just made the list at No. 99—the magazine cited the company’s expanding infant day care program.

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When an employee believes it’s necessary to end-run a supervisor to complain about potentially illegal conduct, resist the temptation to ignore the complaint. And whatever you do, don’t tell the whistle-blower to take it up with the supervisor.

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One of the best ways to guarantee an employee will get her FMLA case in front of a jury is for her boss to mention her use of FMLA leave while discussing termination. The best idea: Have someone neutral from HR deliver the news that the employee is being let go.

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