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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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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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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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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It’s one thing to have to pay a wage-and-hour claim for one or two employees. It’s quite another to have to defend a giant class-action overtime suit. One way to cut the risk that a minor problem will morph into a huge lawsuit is to enforce clear overtime rules.

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Some employees mistakenly believe that, just because they have been diagnosed with a serious condition, they are disabled and entitled to an accommodation. Employers can and should analyze the claimed disability to see whether it really substantially impairs one of the employee’s major life functions. The diagnosis alone is not enough. It’s just the starting point.

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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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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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