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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

A female police officer who was placed on administrative leave after being accused of writing false traffic-warning citations has received a payout from her employer, the Hastings Police Department.

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Two companies headquartered in Minnesota have made the 2009 Fortune magazine “100 Best Companies to Work For” list: General Mills of Minneapolis and the Mayo Clinic of Rochester.

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Here’s a trend to watch out for as the economy continues to slow: As companies go out of business, employees sometimes lose access to their retirement funds. It’s not a new problem, but it’s one the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is trying to fix.

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Best Buy, the nation’s largest electronics retailer, will cut an undisclosed number of jobs at its Richfield headquarters. The news comes after 500 employees already left under a voluntary buyout program.

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Minneapolis-based Target, the nation’s second largest discount retailer, has announced it will cut 1,000 jobs in Minneapolis alone. Those cuts include 400 open but unfilled positions, in addition to 600 layoffs.

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The Stillwater School District has agreed to pay a part-time teacher and athletics coach $137,000 to settle age discrimination claims in a lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

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Here’s how routine discrimination claims turn ugly fast: A supervisor or manager gets it in her head that she’s going to punish an employee for complaining. While it’s hard for employees to win most discrimination cases, it’s relatively easy for them to win retaliation claims.

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Sometimes, disabled applicants and employees try to insist on a particular accommodation. They expect employers to blindly agree to their suggestions without considering the expense or inconvenience. Don’t fall into that trap.

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Discrimination at work is perfectly legal in some countries, and foreign-born managers and executives who work for U.S. employers may sometimes say things that show ignorance of U.S. laws. Those words can come back to haunt an employer that is sued for age discrimination.

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It can happen to the best manager or HR professional. You discipline or demote an employee, and then, when she files an internal grievance or asks the company to reconsider, you conclude she shouldn’t have been disciplined or demoted in the first place. What should you do?

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