The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

If you have a zero-tolerance policy for employees drinking alcohol on duty, employees who are fired for breaking the rules may be denied unemployment compensation benefits—even if the employee wasn’t impaired enough to be criminally charged with drunken driving.

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Just when you thought you had mastered the intricacies of the FMLA, employees and their lawyers have come up with a new trick that could trip you. This one involves how employers calculate attendance under no-fault absenteeism programs.

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Sometimes, it’s tempting to offer a disgruntled employee a quick cash settlement in exchange for her signature on a liability release. If a few thousand dollars will avoid an expensive lawsuit, it’s worth it, right? Maybe, maybe not …

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Fairmont-based MowMar Farms has fired six workers at its newly acquired farm near Bayard, Iowa, after a videotape revealed that some employees routinely abused pigs there. The footage, shot by PETA, showed workers slamming piglets on a concrete floor…

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Faced with budget woes, the University of Minnesota has decided to control costs “sooner rather than later” with a “hiring pause,” University President Robert Bruininks told the Associated Press.

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Employees who file a discrimination claim with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights within the one-year deadline set by the Minnesota Human Rights Act get an extension of time to file a lawsuit directly in court. That’s the conclusion recently reached by the Court of Appeals of Minnesota.

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Employees who claim their employers somehow discriminated against them because they have immigration problems or aren’t U.S. citizens can’t automatically sue for national-origin discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act or Title VII. Instead, they must prove that the underlying discrimination was based on national origin.

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Employers sometimes come up with some very specific rules for when and how employees must call in to let their bosses know they will miss work. Sometimes those rules become contracts …

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Sometimes, employees who think they are about to be fired for poor performance will try to take pre-emptive action by quitting and then suing. Courts are pretty strict when it comes to “constructive discharge” …

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John Zupancich, a miner who works in the Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron, has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Steel, claiming the company’s timecard practices rob workers of as much as two hours of pay each week.

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