The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Minneapolis Fire Department Capt. Shanna Hanson was off-duty when she heard of the I-35 bridge collapse in August 2007. Nevertheless, she grabbed her gear and dove into the Mississippi River in hopes of finding survivors. Television coverage of the disaster made Hanson a local hero. Now, accumulated injuries have taken their toll on the 19-year veteran, so she is taking a $113,000 workers’ compensation buyout and hanging up her fire helmet.

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Perhaps nothing strikes more fear in an HR manager’s heart than learning that employees have filed a class-action wage-and-hour lawsuit alleging they were improperly classified as exempt employees. Your best defense is to be proactive about pay issues. Conduct regular reviews to make sure positions throughout your organization are properly classified as hourly or salaried.

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The Roundy’s supermarket chain faces a unique situation. Union members are handing out leaflets in front of stores, but they’re not disgruntled Roundy’s employees. They’re not even trying to organize Roundy’s employees. Now the grocery chain has asked the National Labor Relations Board to intervene.

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Do you have an hourly employee who seems to be getting a tremendous amount of work done? Make sure she isn’t skipping breaks.

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Hourly employees generally know that if they work overtime, their employer has to pay them for the extra hours. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean employees can work OT whenever they feel like it. Here’s how to end unauthorized overtime:

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The possibility of hidden bias is what makes it so important to never base a termination decision solely on one person’s recommendation. The key is to cut the connection between the supervisor’s attitude and the company’s termination decision.

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Judges understand that human emotion plays a part in some personnel actions—especially in cases involving alleged retaliation. They know that if an employer was planning to retaliate for something an employee did, it wouldn’t wait several years to act.

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The tragic case of a St. Paul nurse who died of cancer may soon test the reach of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, now that the EEOC has filed a lawsuit alleging that her employer violated the law by refusing to accommodate her disability.

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Given the low cost and the easy accessibility of electronic records storage, many employers are making the digital leap to “paperless” HR. But despite the many benefits of going paperless, a host of legal problems could derail even the best-intentioned digital records plan. Carefully consider these legal issues when transitioning to an electronic personnel records system.

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In the wake of a recession that disproportionately caused job losses in male-dominated fields such as construction, Minnesota women are faring slightly better these days, according to new research by the nonprofit Independent Women’s Forum.

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