The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

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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Regis Corp., a national hair salon chain based in the Twin Cities, operates numerous outlets under Regis Salons, Cost Cutters, Supercuts, MasterCuts and other brands. CEO Paul Finkelstein was so concerned about the effects of the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, he decided to be proactive. But his actions may have violated the NLRA.

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Here’s some good news if you use truly independent contractors to perform work. If you have done it right, you don’t have to worry about losing an age discrimination lawsuit. But there’s a caveat: You must make sure you can easily prove your contractor wasn’t really an employee.

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When you hire someone, you have presumably concluded that the new employee has met at least the minimum requirements for job success. Of course, sometimes that turns out to be wrong. But think twice if you’re tempted to fire an employee who isn’t working out, and that person is your first-ever employee belonging to a particular protected class.

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Employees who are called to active military service have certain job protections, including the right to return to their old or similar jobs. But those rights have limits. The law doesn’t require reinstating a veteran to her old job at the same facility where she worked before if the employer no longer has jobs there.

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Sometimes you realize early on that a recent hire is not going to work out. He may have looked good on paper, but isn’t doing well on the job. It may then be time to cut your losses.

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When retail giant Walmart allegedly threatened to fire an employee who advocated for unionizing a store in Hastings, the United Food and Commercial Workers’ union filed National Labor Relations Act unfair labor practices charges. Now Walmart has settled with the National Labor Relations Board.

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Things started out rocky last November for American Building Maintenance (ABM), a nationwide janitorial services conglomerate, when ICE agents busted it for employing 1,200 undocumented workers. Bad turned to worse in January when the EEOC filed a complaint against ABM, alleging race discrimination against black workers hired last fall through a nonprofit Minneapolis employment agency called Emerge.

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Dr. Steven Radjenovich contacted federal officials when he believed Wheaton Community Hospital was manipulating hospital stays to overcharge the federal government. As a result, he will share in the almost $850,000 fine the hospital will pay to settle the charges.

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The owner of a Hermantown construction company observed one of his workers in a trench performing his job incorrectly. So to get his attention, he nudged him … with the backhoe. The owner was charged with second-degree assault.

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