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 40
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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Ordinarily, when an employee receives a reprimand that doesn’t carry negative consequences, courts won’t consider the reprimand an “adverse employment decision.” As a practical matter, that means an employee can’t base a discrimination lawsuit on a simple reprimand. But that doesn’t mean an oral reprimand can’t be retaliation.

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Good news for government agencies: People who apply for government work don’t have a property interest in a potential job, even if they make the list of finalists, and others on the list don’t want the job. That’s true even if the hiring committee states it plans to hire someone from the list and then does not.

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The EEOC received a record 99,922 charges in the 2010 fiscal year—the most the agency has received in its 45-year history. Given this sharp increase in charge activity, now is a good time to review your personnel policies and practices to make sure you’re taking appropriate steps to help prevent potential dis­crimination claims.

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Some work environments are more prone to sexual harassment than others. That shouldn’t keep you from hiring women for positions in a largely male workplace. The answer is to educate em­ployees about harassment and then punish anyone who violates your anti-harassment policy.

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Some employees think they can walk out on their jobs as soon as it looks like their employer is going to violate their rights. Then they sue, arguing constructive discharge. But courts expect employees to give their employers a chance to right wrongs.

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On occasion, an employee may be too embarrassed to directly confront sexual harassment. Instead, she may complain to a supervisor about unspecified problems. If the complaints are vague and wouldn’t cause a reasonable person to understand the issue of sexual harassment, the employee will have a hard time winning a lawsuit.

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After an electrical worker suffered severe burns while working on an Illinois wind turbine, OSHA cited the Minnesota company that owns the facility for six willful safety violations.

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The Minnesota Department of Human Services has agreed to pay more than $467,000 to settle an age discrimination complaint filed by retired staffers.

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Employers can’t just ignore it if an employee asks for time off as a religious accommodation. The better approach is to schedule the employee for work and wait for him to request time off for religious observances. Then carefully consider the request, and document your efforts and conclusions.

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The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that employees don’t automatically become eligible for unemployment compensation benefits just because their employer didn’t follow its own progressive disciplinary policy outlined in the employee handbook.

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A former Wells Fargo loan officer in Maple Grove has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for his part in approving $4.3 million in fraudulent loans. The bank took a $1.5 million loss on the deal.

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Six former employees of the Min­ne­apolis Convention Center are suing, alleging the center discriminates based on age and race. Their lawsuit says minority and older workers were held to different standards than other employees.

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Employers must be careful not to give tipped employees too many additional duties to complete before, during or after their tip-generating activities. If more than about 20% of their time is spent on such activities, you may have to pay them the full minimum wage for those hours, regardless of how much they earn in tips during the shift.

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Here’s something to consider when setting pay rates for jobs in different locations and with slightly different responsibilities: Under the Equal Pay Act, employers can set different salaries based on geographically distinct job locations.

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Here’s some help for HR professionals trying to do all they can to safeguard their organization’s exempt/nonexempt employee classifications—especially in an economic climate that requires companies to do more with less:

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Eventually, every employer will have to investigate some sort of workplace concern. Whether because of a dispute between co-workers or a need to address unethical or unlawful behavior, workplace investigations are an important and delicate exercise. The following tips will help investigations produce useful results.

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If an employee gets a certification showing he has a serious health condition under the FMLA, you can request a second, independent assessment. But if the second opinion says the condition isn’t serious, that’s not the final word. FMLA regulations require a third opinion as the tie-breaker.

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3M Companies appears poised to settle a high-profile age discrimination suit. Earlier this year, the company filed a joint motion for preliminary ap­proval of a class-action settlement involving approximately 7,000 workers. If the Ramsey County District Court agrees, the employees (and their attorneys) will split $12 million.

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The DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Admin­is­tra­tion (EBSA) has sued Parkland Hotel Investors—once one of the Twin Cities’ biggest commercial financiers—in an attempt to distribute the company’s 401(k) assets to 96 former employees who participated in its retirement plan.

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Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement can’t claim additional quasi-contractual rights, as the following case shows.

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