The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Halunen & Associates will not represent any of the plaintiffs in Gifford v. Target Corp., a major class-action overtime suit, after a federal judge ruled that the firm’s previous contact with a Target official may have revealed privileged company information.

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Chad Jurgens of Big Lake will spend the next five years in the big house after admitting to scheming to defraud his employer, computer hard drive manufacturer Seagate Technologies.

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Minneapolis-St. Paul’s low crime and unemployment rates nudged the Twin Cities past Washington, D.C., and Boston to gain the top spot on Forbes magazine’s best city for working mothers list.

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Following past recessions, hiring typically took place across the age spectrum once recovery began. Not this time. The Great Recession and its hiring hangover have hit older workers particularly hard. That’s sure to mean more lawsuits. Employment lawyers smell blood and will soon be going after employers they perceive as having policies biased against hiring older workers.

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Minnesota employees who make good-faith reports about safety concerns are protected from retaliation. Before you approve a termination recommendation, make sure the employee hasn’t recently complained about safety issues. If he has, verify that the discharge reasons are genuine. Otherwise, prepare for a retaliation lawsuit.

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There’s at least one upside to having a unionized workforce: Employees who have disagreements over pay or benefits generally have to use the arbitration process authorized in the union contract to pursue their claims. Your collective-bargaining agreement can save employers from expensive trips to the federal courts.

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If you have a policy that tries to limit employees’ Internet use, make sure your IT department has an accurate and very specific way to measure that usage. Otherwise, an employee who’s fired for violating the policy may end up collecting unemployment compensation.

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It seems elementary that employees should work when they are being paid. But some employees apparently think it is fine to take unauthorized breaks by holing up in an inconspicuous place. You don’t have to put up with it.

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In response to employee complaints about electrical hazards at the U.S. Postal Service’s processing center in Eagan, OSHA in June fined the post office $210,000 for willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

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An EEOC disability discrimination suit against Hibbing Taconite seems likely headed for trial after a federal district court judge refused to dismiss charges against the Mesabi Iron Range mining firm. The case involves a hearing-impaired job applicant with years of mining experience, whom the company refused to hire, according to the EEOC complaint.

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