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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Richfield-based electronics retail giant Best Buy is adjusting its business plan in response to the economic downturn. The move will cost 250 jobs in Richfield, but the company plans to hire 210 additional people.

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Employers have to let their employees know about the FMLA so they can take advantage of the leave guaranteed by the law. But if an employee doesn’t take advantage of his FMLA rights, the employer can’t be held liable for not providing leave even if it turns out the employee was eligible.

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OSHA is responsible for worker safety, and it takes that responsibility seriously. It recently won a significant victory in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld OSHA’s right to hold contractors liable for their subcontractors’ safety violations.

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More and more employers are asking their HR staffs to prepare noncompete agreements to prevent employees from taking trade secrets to competitors. Before you pull out a standard form or download one from the Internet, consider the consequences.

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Minnesota employees are protected from being fired in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. That means employers have to think twice before discharging such an employee for anything but the most solid reasons.

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Employers don’t have to blindly accept their employees’ medical certifications. The FMLA allows you to get a second opinion about whether an employee’s request qualifies for leave … If the two certifications don’t agree, you can get a third and final certification to break the tie. But what happens during the interim?

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have for years predicted that a virulent influenza outbreak could kill tens of thousands, hospitalize hundreds of thousands and sicken millions. Regardless of how the swine flu crisis plays out, it should be a wake-up call for employers. If you haven’t already, now is the time to undertake pandemic planning efforts.

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Here’s how routine discrimination claims turn ugly fast: A supervisor or manager gets it in her head that she’s going to punish an employee for complaining. While it’s hard for employees to win most discrimination cases, it’s relatively easy for them to win retaliation claims.

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You can learn a lot about an employee during the first few weeks. Missing work then probably means attendance will be a problem later. Having stricter rules during the initial probationary period will help you weed out problem employees.

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One of the first laws passed this year by the Minnesota Legislature will help about 3,000 Minnesotans who were about to exhaust their unemployment benefits …

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