The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

In his 25 years on the Minneapolis Fire Department, Thomas Davison fought a series of debilitating health conditions along with the fires he helped put out. He also had to fight the department to obtain health benefits.

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OSHA is responsible for worker safety, and it takes that responsibility seriously. It recently won a significant victory in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld OSHA’s right to hold contractors liable for their subcontractors’ safety violations.

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Minnesota employees are protected from being fired in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. That means employers have to think twice before discharging such an employee for anything but the most solid reasons.

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Sometimes, employees think they can save themselves from being disciplined by making a fuss about possible employer wrongdoing. They assume that whistle-blowing will protect them from being fired, for example, because their employer’s timing will look suspect. Smart employers don’t fall for this.

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Employers don’t have to blindly accept their employees’ medical certifications. The FMLA allows you to get a second opinion about whether an employee’s request qualifies for leave … If the two certifications don’t agree, you can get a third and final certification to break the tie. But what happens during the interim?

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have for years predicted that a virulent influenza outbreak could kill tens of thousands, hospitalize hundreds of thousands and sicken millions. Regardless of how the swine flu crisis plays out, it should be a wake-up call for employers. If you haven’t already, now is the time to undertake pandemic planning efforts.

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One of the first laws passed this year by the Minnesota Legislature will help about 3,000 Minnesotans who were about to exhaust their unemployment benefits …

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A female police officer who was placed on administrative leave after being accused of writing false traffic-warning citations has received a payout from her employer, the Hastings Police Department.

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The Stillwater School District has agreed to pay a part-time teacher and athletics coach $137,000 to settle age discrimination claims in a lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

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Here’s a trend to watch out for as the economy continues to slow: As companies go out of business, employees sometimes lose access to their retirement funds. It’s not a new problem, but it’s one the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is trying to fix.

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