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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

The FMLA clearly doesn’t cover employees who take time off work to care for a sick girlfriend or boyfriend. However, as a new case shows, employees can legally take FMLA leave to care for a girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s child, if the employee has assumed day-to-day responsibility for that child. Learn more about this crucial distinction.

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Employees who face discipline and are worried about losing their jobs may believe that claiming they are disabled will stop or at least delay the inevitable. They think the ADA is a shield against punishment. Don’t fall for that trick …

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David Keef, a former field engineer for M.A. Mortenson Company, a commercial construction firm based in Minneapolis, has filed a lawsuit claiming the company misclassified his position as exempt from overtime …

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During difficult economic times, businesses consider various cost-cutting measures—and shrinking the company’s workforce often tops the list. But failing to give employees adequate notice of layoffs can quickly turn a cost-savings initiative into a significant liability …

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A group of current and former drivers and ride-along helpers for Waste Management Inc. (WMI) has filed a lawsuit claiming the company routinely required them to work through breaks without pay to finish their routes on time …

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There’s no excuse for ignorance when it comes to racially hostile symbols and speech in the workplace. Employers that ignore harassing co-workers—hiding their heads in the sand or relying solely on handbooks that tell employees how to complain—may be setting themselves up for a losing lawsuit …

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Maryam Abdi, a 16-year-old who was denied a job at an Old Country Buffet restaurant because of her Islamic headscarf, has been hired for the position she sought. Abdi applied for a part-time cashier position at the company’s Fridley restaurant in July. The manager who interviewed her reportedly asked whether she would be willing to remove her headscarf to comply with the restaurant’s uniform policy …

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Courts aren’t in the business of second-guessing all your employment decisions, as long as those decisions seem reasonable and rational. If you keep good records, can easily explain your decision-making processes and don’t have any discrimination to hide, you’ll win most lawsuits …

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Four former employees of Taymark Inc., a subsidiary of Taylor Corp. of North Mankato, have filed lawsuits claiming they were laid off in June 2007 for unlawful reasons. They claim Taymark selected them for termination based on their gender, age and salary levels, retaining younger, less experienced workers in their stead …

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Employees are entitled to work in a harassment-free environment—and that includes more than freedom from harassment by supervisors and co-workers. Employers also have to take reasonable steps to protect workers from harassment by customers, clients and others over which the employer has some control …

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