The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

You probably know that in many cases where the employee wins a discrimination lawsuit, the employer has to pay the employee’s attorney. Fortunately, the reverse may also be true—if you manage to win dismissal of a clearly frivolous claim.

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St. Paul-based White Way Dry Cleaners has paid $42,250 to a former employee who filed an EEOC pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The case arose when Michelle Johnson was transferred from her job pressing clothes to a counter position after telling her bosses she was pregnant. White Way had a longstanding policy of transferring pregnant employees to protect them from chemicals used in the dry cleaning process.

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Home improvement giant Lowe’s is offering free health screenings to its employees. Lowe’s operates 13 stores in Minnesota, with more than 1,500 employees.

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Schwan’s, the Marshall-based frozen food company, must turn over data requested by the EEOC in a long-running sex discrimination case. Judge Janie Myeron ruled in favor of the EEOC’s subpoena requesting demographic data on employees who have entered the company’s management trainee program.

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According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota lost 30,000 union jobs last year, and the rate of union membership statewide declined a full percentage point from 16.1% to 15.1%.

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According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota lost 30,000 union jobs last year, and the rate of union membership statewide declined a full percentage point from 16.1% to 15.1%.

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Social media is on the rise, creating many questions for employers. Should we use social media to develop business or recruit new talent? Should we let employees use Facebook and Twitter at work? What restrictions do we need? Can we monitor off-duty conduct? And what are the potential liabilities?

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Many employers have adopted so-called zero-tolerance rules prohibiting any kind of violence at work. The reason: Getting rid of violent employees is crucial to maintaining a safe work environment. But be careful how you enforce the rule. If you ever make exceptions, you’re asking for a lawsuit.

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It’s the employment law case everyone is watching. A massive, long-running gender pay discrimination class action against Walmart has overcome another hurdle on its way to what could become the largest payout to employees in U.S. history. The plaintiffs—potentially 1.5 million women who have worked at 3,400 Walmart stores—got a victory in April when the full panel 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead for the case to proceed.

 

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Some employees think they can behave like jerks at work without any consequences—as long as they don’t harass co-workers. You don’t have to put up with that kind of nonsense. Instead, institute clear rules against such behavior. Put them in your employee handbook. Then enforce those rules—up to and including firing those who just won’t change their ways.

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