The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Here’s one thing you don’t have to worry about—the race of the manager terminating another employee. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected the idea that just because the decision-maker happens to be of a different race than the employee being disciplined, there may be racism involved.

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Consider this scenario: An employee lodges a complaint that her sex or race kept her from being promoted. Shortly after, you offer her an opportunity for advancement. She then turns around and sues, alleging that the offer was a sham. Fortunately, courts are rejecting such arguments.

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Don’t expect to get a case tossed out just because the complaint is vague. The fact is, courts are willing to let an employee continue a quest for a big jury award as long as the complaint puts the employer on notice about the essentials, if not the specifics, of the case.

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While Congress ponders the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act, several states are studying ways to target employers that misclassify their employees as independent contractors. Minnesota is part of a joint task force studying the misclassification problem.

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Employees who lose their jobs often think the reason just has to be discrimination. Their first stop after receiving their pink slips: a lawyer’s office. If the resulting lawsuit is meritless, push hard for dismissal.

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Employees who lose their jobs often think the reason just has to be discrimination. Their first stop after receiving their pink slips: a lawyer’s office. If the resulting lawsuit is meritless, push hard for dismissal.

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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is stepping up efforts to encourage and support certain types of wage-loss claims by low-income workers. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced in April that the department was rolling out its “We Can Help” campaign to address this issue. If you employ relatively low-wage workers, you need to be aware of this program.

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In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in May ruled that the lawsuit clock resets each time an employer uses apparently biased job-qualification tests to make hiring decisions. The court said the timing of Title VII lawsuits doesn’t depend on when the test was administered, but on when the employer uses the test results, even if that’s years later.

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Minnesota residents had one of the nation’s highest per capita state tax rates in 2009, according to the watchdog web site Taxadmin.org. Minnesota ranked 8th in state per capital taxes last year, the same ranking it held in 2008.

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The EEOC has won the first round of a battle against early-retirement incentive plans that are based strictly on age. If you have such a plan, make sure you review its legal status with your attorney.

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