The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act provides job protection for employees who serve in the military and prohibits retaliation against anyone—including co-workers—who participates in an investigation or proceeding to enforce the law. But petty aggravations aren’t retaliatory.

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Lately, the EEOC has been on a campaign to stamp out discrimination based on religion—especially discrimination related to religious dress. As part of that effort, the EEOC has focused on employment agencies, demanding that they do more to ensure that the employers they refer temporary workers to aren’t biased. Now the 8th Circuit has reined in the EEOC a bit—for the time being.

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Social media is on the rise, creating many questions for employers. Should we use social media to develop business or recruit new talent? Should we let employees use Facebook and Twitter at work? What restrictions do we need? Can we monitor off-duty conduct? And what are the potential liabilities?

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Many employers have adopted so-called zero-tolerance rules prohibiting any kind of violence at work. The reason: Getting rid of violent employees is crucial to maintaining a safe work environment. But be careful how you enforce the rule. If you ever make exceptions, you’re asking for a lawsuit.

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It’s the employment law case everyone is watching. A massive, long-running gender pay discrimination class action against Walmart has overcome another hurdle on its way to what could become the largest payout to employees in U.S. history. The plaintiffs—potentially 1.5 million women who have worked at 3,400 Walmart stores—got a victory in April when the full panel 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead for the case to proceed.

 

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Some employees think they can behave like jerks at work without any consequences—as long as they don’t harass co-workers. You don’t have to put up with that kind of nonsense. Instead, institute clear rules against such behavior. Put them in your employee handbook. Then enforce those rules—up to and including firing those who just won’t change their ways.

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The National Association for Female Executives has named General Mills as one of the top 10 firms for women leaders. General Mills made the list because the company’s top five earners are women.

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When an employee believes it’s necessary to end-run a supervisor to complain about potentially illegal conduct, resist the temptation to ignore the complaint. And whatever you do, don’t tell the whistle-blower to take it up with the supervisor.

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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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Not everyone who has a learning disability or even mild retardation is disabled. Under the ADA, every disability is measured by the individual’s condition and whether or not the condition he claims is disabling substantially impairs a major life function. Thus, someone with minor intellectual deficits may not be disabled under the ADA.

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