The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Barring an unlikely change of fortune, the Minnesota Vikings aren’t going to Dallas for the Super Bowl this year. Two Vikings players—defensive linemen Kevin and Pat Williams—also know they’re not going to Washington after the regular season ends.

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You may never see it coming: A disappointed applicant sues you after you give the job to someone else. However, you can be prepared—if you have held onto all documents and materials related to the hiring process. If you wind up in court and need to show why you didn’t select an applicant, those records may provide the rationale.

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If an employer loses a discrimination case, it typically has to pay the employee’s legal fees and associated costs (plus any damages due). But what if the case is championed by the EEOC and the agency loses? Surely it has the money to reimburse the employer it dragged into court. Fat chance you’ll recoup those costs, if this recent Minnesota case is any indication.

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Like other employers, your organization probably is trying to use employees as efficiently as possible. That may include eliminating some jobs and training employees to pick up additional tasks. You may want to consider creating a cross-training program before deciding which employees to terminate. Those who show a willingness to learn new skills and the ability to perform them well are probably the “keepers” on your staff. Just make sure you offer everyone the same opportunity to learn.

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Need a way to sell a possible lawsuit settlement to managers? Try explaining that even a small jury award can mean having to pay huge attorneys’ fees on the employee’s side, in addition to the company’s own legal costs.

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You no doubt know you should act fast to investigate when employees complain about discrimination. But that doesn’t mean you need to rush to complete your inquiry in just one day.

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A federal court has refused to expand the FMLA, rejecting an employee’s attempt to force automatic FMLA leave for a serious health condition allegedly caused by her employer.

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Faced with falling revenue, the counties that fund the Great River Regional Library System last year implemented what they hoped would be cost-saving measures. The unwanted results: Two age-discrimination lawsuits, the unionization of library managers, higher unemployment comp costs and spiraling legal fees.

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The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected a retaliation lawsuit that alleged reverse discrimination at Capella University, the nationwide online institution of higher learning based in Minneapolis.

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A supposedly confidential sexual harassment complaint has become an election issue in the Dodge County sheriff’s race. An employee in the sheriff’s office claims she was sexually harassed by current Sheriff Jim Trihey.

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