The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Hourly employees generally know that if they work overtime, their employer has to pay them for the extra hours. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean employees can work OT whenever they feel like it. Here’s how to end unauthorized overtime:

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You hear a lot about bullies and bullying these days, especially in schools. But bullies grow up. If they’re not stopped, they bring intimidation and violence into the workplace. What’s worse, some of them will become supervisors. If you get wind of a potential bully boss, here’s what to do:

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One of the few union organizing efforts in the fast-food business will get another chance. The Industrial Workers of the World lost an October 2010 unionization vote at Twin Cities area Jimmy John’s restaurants. But unfair labor practices charges against the franchisee who owns the 10 restaurants mean a new vote is likely in coming months.

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The possibility of hidden bias is what makes it so important to never base a termination decision solely on one person’s recommendation. The key is to cut the connection between the supervisor’s attitude and the company’s termination decision.

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Judges understand that human emotion plays a part in some personnel actions—especially in cases involving alleged retaliation. They know that if an employer was planning to retaliate for something an employee did, it wouldn’t wait several years to act.

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The tragic case of a St. Paul nurse who died of cancer may soon test the reach of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, now that the EEOC has filed a lawsuit alleging that her employer violated the law by refusing to accommodate her disability.

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Given the low cost and the easy accessibility of electronic records storage, many employers are making the digital leap to “paperless” HR. But despite the many benefits of going paperless, a host of legal problems could derail even the best-intentioned digital records plan. Carefully consider these legal issues when transitioning to an electronic personnel records system.

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In the wake of a recession that disproportionately caused job losses in male-dominated fields such as construction, Minnesota women are faring slightly better these days, according to new research by the nonprofit Independent Women’s Forum.

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Good news for Minnesota employers that have been worried about how to pay employees for the time they spend putting on and taking off protective clothing before and after their shifts: Paying overtime as required by federal law generally means no additional payment is due under Minnesota law.

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Employers operate in an increasingly complex legal environment, made all the more difficult by the tough economy. Hiring has emerged as a particular trouble spot. You need to hire and maintain a skilled and productive workforce, but you must watch out for legal liability that can surface in the process.

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