The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

If you have a policy that tries to limit employees’ Internet use, make sure your IT department has an accurate and very specific way to measure that usage. Otherwise, an employee who’s fired for violating the policy may end up collecting unemployment compensation.

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In response to employee complaints about electrical hazards at the U.S. Postal Service’s processing center in Eagan, OSHA in June fined the post office $210,000 for willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

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According to a complaint by former St. Cloud Police Officer Sean Lathrop, he was a rising star in the department until his supervisors found out he was gay. Then his career prospects suddenly dimmed. Now he’s suing.

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According to a complaint by former St. Cloud Police Officer Sean Lathrop, he was a rising star in the department until his supervisors found out he was gay. Then his career prospects suddenly dimmed. Now he’s suing.

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When you find out that an employee has been doing things that make the work environment sexually hostile, you must fix the problem right away. The sooner you do, the less likely that an employee will successfully sue. That’s because employees have just 300 days to file EEOC charges. That clock starts ticking as soon as you start acting to clean up the environment.

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Golden Valley-based General Mills has been dubbed one of the top five employers in the nation for multicultural women by Working Mother magazine.

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At some point, an unsuccessful job candidate may challenge your decision not to hire him. Then you will have to justify your selection process. The more objective criteria you use, the more likely a court will agree not to second-guess your decision. But if you add subjective elements to the process, you may end up being charged with discrimination.

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The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) makes it an unfair employment practice to terminate an employee based on marital status. The Court of Appeals of Minnesota has now clarified that the law covers more than the state of being married; it also bans discrimination based on who one’s spouse is.

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If you offer short-term disability (STD) benefits for employees who can’t work because of illness, you probably insist on medical documentation. If the employee doesn’t provide that information within the reasonable timeline your STD plan requires, you can count the absence against the employee and terminate her.

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Here’s one thing you don’t have to worry about—the race of the manager terminating another employee. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected the idea that just because the decision-maker happens to be of a different race than the employee being disciplined, there may be racism involved.

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