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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has won a significant victory in an overtime lawsuit filed by two customer service representatives. A court has denied a petition to elevate the case to class-action status—a decision that could save the insurer millions of dollars if it eventually loses.

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Macy’s has rescinded a manager’s ad hoc English-only rule after six employees at the company’s Southdale Mall store in Edina complained to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of Minnesota. The workers said a manager allegedly threatened to fire them if they spoke “even one word” of Somali on the job …

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After a year of negotiating and two EEOC lawsuits, Gold’n Plump Inc. of St. Cloud granted Muslim workers an extra 10-minute break for prayers and allowed them to refuse to work with pork products …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently released a set of proposals designed to make the state’s health care system “market-driven, patient-centered and quality-focused.” Pawlenty said the plan will “lead the nation in the development of portable personal health records and expanded consumer-directed health care spending accounts for state employees.” …

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