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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

There’s a good chance that what your employees actually do every day has little in common with what’s written in their job descriptions. That’s a problem. Inaccurate or in­­complete job descriptions can cause legal liability for ­­employers, especially if the EEOC or the DOL comes calling.

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The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) doesn’t grant employers any legal recourse if an employee misuses information obtained from company computers, according to a recent Minnesota Federal District Court ruling.

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USERRA is not a veteran’s preference law. It merely guarantees that service members can return to work no better or worse off than if they never left.

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Winona-based Hal Leonard Publishing Co. has settled a sexual harassment class action suit with the EEOC. The music publisher will pay $150,000 to a class of women who claim they had to endure unwanted grabbing, squeezing and sexual innuendo.

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The state Department of Human Services failed to check educational and employment references for the director of the state’s largest mental hospital, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio.

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Sometimes, employees get angry and say things they later regret. Recently, an employer accepted an angry resignation and avoided unemployment compensation liability.

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In Minnesota, employees who suffer from a serious illness can still collect unemployment compensation if they ask their employers for an accommodation. If none is available, then the employee can collect benefits if he can’t work. But employees must tell their em­­ployers about their medical condition.

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You’ll rarely lose a termination-related lawsuit if your handbook contains clear rules that you follow consistently. That’s because when everyone who breaks the same rule is equitably disciplined, fired employees will have a hard time finding ­workers outside their protected class who were treated more favorably than they were.

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When upper management rubber-stamps an employment decision made by a supervisor who discriminates, the employer is liable for the discrimination. But if higher-ups independently review the situation before ratifying the decision, the employer isn’t bound by its discriminating subordinate’s wrongdoing.

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While it is illegal to discriminate against an individual based on his or her national origin, that doesn’t mean that discrimination against someone based on her immigration status is forbidden. That’s because immigration status isn’t tied to a particular national origin.

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