The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 2
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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

A federal jury has awarded just $1 in damages to a former University of Minnesota doctoral student in a two-year-old case that alleged a professor had sexually harassed her on a research trip to Alaska.

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Sealy of Minnesota has agreed to settle charges it failed to properly address and end racial harassment at its mattress and box spring factory in St. Paul.

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It doesn’t take much for a court to approve a class-action overtime lawsuit if it is clear that a company policy affected everyone in the same job classification.

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A court has concluded that, for some jobs, full-time attendance is an essential function. When that’s the case, an employer has no obligation to create a part-time position to accommodate an employee’s disability.

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Sometimes, it makes sense to use a last-chance agreement in which an employee agrees that one more violation of a company rule will mean immediate termination.

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Taking a chance—hiring the minimally qualified applicant—may mean having to turn around and terminate him a short time later. That’s usually fine.

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Courts don’t expect workplaces to be perfectly harmonious, without any hint of harassment. As long as the behavior doesn’t repeat or become progressively worse, courts generally hesitate to intervene.

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Q. Our company policy is not to pay an employee for unused vacation time if the employee resigns without giving the required two weeks’ notice. A former employee has challenged this policy and is threatening to take the company to court. Is this policy lawful?

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Courts like to see that employers gave employees a chance to improve before firing them for performance problems. That’s why it’s smart to exhaustively document your effort to correct poor performance.

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While much of the nation is focused on what changes may be coming to the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board and the EEOC, employers would do well to also pay attention to changes at the state level.

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