The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Workplace bullying is an issue that employers should pay attention to—to get ahead of potential legal obligations and mitigate the high business costs of bullying. Some steps employers might consider taking include: Adopt a “no jerks” rule, and adopt and en­­force an anti-bullying policy.

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Last year, Electrolux agreed to adjust its break schedule to accommodate Muslim employees working the evening shift at its St. Cloud plant. The EEOC mediated last year’s agreement in a process that was hailed as a model of cooperation between the employer, employees and the federal government. Problem solved, right? Not so fast.

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For the second time since 2009, Product Fabricators is being charged with disability discrimination. Accord­­ing to an EEOC complaint, the Pine City-based sheet metal manufacturer fired an injured employee instead of accommodating him.

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Employees who lie when confronted about wrongdoing are ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits—at least if the lie concerned something about which the employer could reasonably expect the truth.

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Employees placed on performance improvement plans (PIP) sometimes suspect that they are about to be fired. But that doesn’t mean they can jump the gun, quit and apply for unemployment compensation.

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Employees who receive workers’ compensation payments for on-the-job injuries are assumed to have retired when they hit age 67. But a recent lawsuit argued that workers’ comp payments had to continue past that cutoff age because an employer had negotiated a legal settlement that didn’t specify that the payments would end at age 67. Fortunately, the Supreme Court of Minnesota has ruled otherwise.

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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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