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The HR Specialist: Minnesota Employment Law

Shakopee-based Hawkins Tree and Landscaping will pay $500,000 to pay misclassified workers as part of a consent agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor.

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The Minnesota state government has settled the last age discrimination claims resulting from early retirement packages offered to state employees.

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If you have a no-violence rule, you don’t have to alter the punishment based on the employee’s personal history, no matter how tragic.

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Having rules against fighting doesn’t necessarily make it easy to punish employees when punches fly. The best approach: Figure out who did what to whom, and in what order.

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The ADA requires employers to work with employees who need reasonable accommodations. Show you did so in good faith by documenting the process. That means tracking email exchanges, taking notes during meetings and generally responding as quickly as possible. Be sure to note the employee’s actions, too.

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Sometimes, employers settle an employee lawsuit and expect that to be the end of the matter. But unless the settlement includes an agreement not to apply for any new job openings, the former employee may do just that. And if he’s not hired, he may allege retaliation for prior litigation.

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Unless you’re willing to risk losing an ADA reasonable accommodations lawsuit, don’t wait to define the essential functions of your employees’ jobs.

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Minnesotans filed 46 more discrimination complaints with the EEOC in fiscal year 2011 than they did in 2010. The 1,204 complaints represented 1.2% of all EEOC charges filed in 2011.

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For some supervisors, being a good boss is literally a hands-on job. They’re constantly patting workers on the back or wrapping them up in an innocent hug. But watch out if they’re “touchier” with female subordinates.

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Michael Brodkorb, the once-powerful Minnesota Senate staffer fired following allegations he had a sexual affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, has filed a sex discrimination complaint with the EEOC. So far, the state Senate has racked up $46,000 in legal bills contesting Brodkorb’s suit.

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