Minneapolis Minnesota Employment Attorney

Our Minneapolis employment attorneys are experienced in representing employers and executives in Minnesota employment law and litigation matters.

Company Legal Counsel and Employment Litigation Defense

Our employment attorneys regularly advise business owners and employers on Minnesota and federal employment law to ensure legal compliance and handle difficult employees. We draft employee handbooks, HR policies, and defend businesses against improper employee claims.

C Level & Company Executives

Employment law affords special protection to employees because there is a concern that the company has leverage because of its size and sophistication. Employees rely on their jobs to live. Thus, the law gives employees special rights. Executives who have been treated unfairly or illegally should contact a Minnesota employment attorney for case analysis and evaluation of their legal rights and options.

Our employment attorneys regularly represent companies and executives in claims and litigation involving

  • unpaid wages
  • wrongful termination
  • discrimination
  • severe harassment in the workplace
  • workers compensation
  • unemployment appeals
  • breach of employment agreement

These claims may arise in federal court, state court, and state agencies.

Minnesota and Federal Employment Law

Our Minneapolis employment lawyers are well acquainted with Minnesota and federal employment laws including the following popular statutes.

Minnesota Employment Laws

  • Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA)
  • Minnesota Prevailing Wages Act (MPWA)
  • Minnesota Child Labor Act (MCLA)
  • Minnesota Parental Leave Act (MPLA)

Federal Employment Law

Our employment attorneys are experienced in a variety of common legal issues and laws including

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (minimum wage and overtime pay)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (pregnancy and medical leave)
  • Consumer Credit Protection Act (wage garnishment)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act (employee benefit plans)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), (discrimination ‘based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin)
  • the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) (sex-based wage discrimination)
  • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) (age based discrimination for 40 years old and older)
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (discrimination against disabled individuals)
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (discrimination against the disabled federal jobs)
  • Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) (genetic information discrimination)
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991 (monetary damages for intentional discrimination)
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)

Small Businesses are Not Entirely Exempt from Employment Laws

Small business owners with employees are still subject to a large number of employment legal requirements. Small business owners are excluded from some employment law mandates for large companies, but a substantial portion of employment laws apply equally to small businesses. A Minnesota employment lawyer can provide counsel to small business owners, helping them avoid legal trouble or deal with claims by an employee or ex-employee.

Contact a Minnesota Employment Attorney

We are happy to work with Minnesota employees and employers. However, before you provide us with confidential information, please contact us to verify that we do not have a conflict of interest. Afterwards, we would be happy to discuss your circumstances, explain your legal rights and options, and potentially represent you.

Related Posts

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Employer Warning: Family-Duty Discrimination Targets Parents & Caregivers

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Pitfalls in Employee Handbook Drug and Alcohol Policies

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Volunteering Employees: What’s Your Policy?

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Can an Employer Require Friendliness?

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What Qualifies as a ‘Voluntary Quit?’

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Employee Handbooks: Statement of Purpose

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Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Whistleblower Protection

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Warning: Cover All Specifics in Employee Disciplinary Memos

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If Disability Hampers Job Performance: What to Do?

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Avoid Risks in Job Applicant Testing

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Pregnancy: A Delicate Issue for Bosses

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Handbook Essentials to Protect Your Business

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Define Employee Types to Avert Questions

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Caution: Some Employee Conduct is Protected

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Can I Settle a Wrongful Discharge Out of Court?

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New Overtime Rules Suspended for Now

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Giving Information Can Lead to Lawsuits

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Negligent Hiring: A Dangerous Risk

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Thwart Legal Trouble: Prepare Supervisors

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Minimize ‘Lookism’ in the Workplace

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New Version of Form I-9 Issued

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Does Implementing Employee Handbooks Modify Employment Contracts?

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How do I complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification?

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Does a change in an employee’s job duties void the employee’s non-compete agreement?

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Are You Ready for the New Overtime Rules?

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Overtime Pay Rules: Avoid Making Costly Wrong Assumptions

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EEOC Penalties Rise Effective July 2016

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Ten Q&A: Uniform Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act

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Employers Notice: The Uniform Wage Garnishment Act

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Seasonal Workers and the ACA Shared Responsibility Penalty

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Non-Compete Agreements: Finding the Right Balance

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Handling Employees at the End of an FMLA Leave

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Summer Weather Brings Dress Code Challenges for Businesses

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Social Media: Job Applicant Screening Laws

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MN Employment Law – HR Compliance Checklist: Statute 181

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Tardiness & Missed Work: Basis for Losing Unemployment Compensation

Employers are understandably frustrated when, without prior notice, their employees are frequently late or miss work entirely. Fortunately, Minnesota statute offers employers an effective legal recourse. When employees fail to show up to work on time or at all, this behavior can be considered ‘employment misconduct’ under Minnesota law. Employment misconduct can be grounds for termination and disqualify

Fighting a Claim of Age Discrimination

Robert Liebman was 49 years old when he was fired from his sales executive position in 2013. After his termination Liebman sued his employer, Metropolitan Life, on the basis of two laws: ERISA, the federal law which governs employee benefits and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). When he took his case first to the

Employer’s Guide: Mandatory Paid Sick Leave in Minneapolis

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New Overtime Rules Issued: What it Means for You

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The Current State of Minimum Wage Laws, Plus the Overtime Debate

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Minnesota Employer’s Guide: Collective Rights of Non-Unionized Employees

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What Misconduct Makes an Employee Ineligible for Unemployment Benefits?

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When is an employer liable for the action of its employee?

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Employee Breaks: Law, Cases, & Consquences

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Do employees have rights to vacation pay under Minnesota law?

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Minnesota Employment Law for Companies Headquartered in Other States

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MN Employee Handbooks: Key Topics, Common Pitfalls, & Drafting Tips

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An Employer’s Guide to Minnesota Wage Payment Law

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Social Media, Technology, and Employees: Crafting Effective Legal Policy

Businesses across Minnesota are struggling to define the boundaries of appropriate employee use of social media and to what extent the employer has a role in monitoring and managing such social media use. In addition to concerns about employee productivity, the sophisticated electronic communication tools available to employees create new challenges for businesses including potential

My Employer Discriminated Against Me Because Of My Disability

When an employer discriminates against you because of a disability, it can make you feel powerless. But know that you are not alone. The law is on your side. One option is to seek justice by pursuing a disability discrimination claim. The ADA defines a “disability” as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits

Minnesota Medical Marijuana in the Workplace – FAQ

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Employers and Social Media: National Labor Relations Act

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Minnesota Whistleblower Law, the Kidwell Case and “Good Faith”

  Sometimes employees have to make some tough decisions when they are faced with actions the employee perceives as wrongdoing. What do they do? Do they report it to their superior? Do they report it to the authorities? Do they quit? What happens if they report it and get fired? Are there protections? Minnesota has

Guilty Knowledge

This is a guest article from Professor Daniel Kleinberger. Prof. Kleinberger is the director of the Mitchell Fellows Program at the William Mitchell College of Law. He was the reporter for the MSBA Business Law Section Task Force that developed the Professional Firms Act and the principal drafter of the act. One of the most important functions

Federal Employers’ Liability Act

Minnesota allows for interest to accrue on judgments in four different ways. One way is what is called "prejudgment" interest. Under Minnesota Statute Section 549.09, subdivision 1(a), one can collect interest for the period between a jury verdict and or the court's order for judgment and the physical entry of judgment. There are exceptions to

Respondeat Superior Run Amok

This is a guest article from Professor Daniel Kleinberger. Prof. Kleinberger is the director of the Mitchell Fellows Program at the William Mitchell College of Law. He was the reporter for the MSBA Business Law Section Task Force that developed the Professional Firms Act and the principal drafter of the act. The phrase “respondeat superior” seems a

Reemployment Assistance: “Good Cause” & Failing to Participate

Minnesota Court of Appeals: Fay v. Dept. of Employment & Economic Development --- N.W.2d --- (Minn. Ct. App. 2015) Defining “Good Cause” for Failing to Participate in Reemployment Assistance Patrick Fay was determined to be eligible for unemployment benefits, but as a requirement to receiving benefits he was to attend a reemployment assistance services appointment.

Minnesota’s Ban the Box Law

Whether Minnesota’s new “Ban-the-Bow” law (codified as Minn. Stat. § 364.021) applies to an employer is going to depend on a few factors. In what state would the applicant be employed? Does the employer have locations in multiple states? How is the employer’s application process structured? All will play a role in deciding whether compliance

Minnesota Non-Competition Agreements: 20 Questions and Answers

Non-competition agreements are very common in the workplace and are utilized to protect a company’s legitimate business interests.  Whether a non-competition agreement is valid and enforceable will be determined by the laws of each state.  Non-competition agreements are treated very differently between states, with agreements considered enforceable to a certain extent in states such as

Enforcing Minnesota Non-Competition Agreements

The purpose of a non-competition agreement is to protect a company’s legitimate business interests.  Legitimate business interests may include protecting a company’s goodwill and customer relationships, confidential information and trade secrets, and preventing unfair competition from former employees and independent contractors.  Employees and independent contractors are often required to sign a non-competition agreement prior to

ACA Filing Requirements

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) now requires certain employers to provide information to both the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and their employees regarding the health insurance plans they offer. Businesses to which these changes will apply are referred to as applicable large employers (“ALE”) and consist of those with fifty (50) or more full-time employees.

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act)

The WARN Act protects employees by requiring employers to provide 60 days notice of plant closing and mass layoffs.  Below are some FAQ regarding the WARN Act. The WARN Act will apply to a company that either: Employs 100 or more full time employees, or Employs 100 or more employees who in the aggregate work

Terminating a C-Level Employee

An employee is presumed to be an at-will employee if there is “an employment agreement with no definite expiration date.” Rosenberg v. Heritage Renovations, LLC, 685 N.W. 2d 320, 326 (Minn. 2004). As an at-will employee, “either party may terminate the contract at any time for any reason.” Bakker v. Metropolitan Pediatric, P.A., 355 N.W.2d

Drug Testing Employees in Minnesota

An employer is largely responsible for its employees and their actions while they are clocked in. An employee under the influence of drugs not only reflects poorly on the company image, but also can be tremendously costly. If an employee under the influence of drugs harms a client or another employee, your company and/or company's

Whistleblower Protection

Minnesota Statute § 541.05 Applies to Whistleblower Actions On December 15, 2014, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that the six-year statute of limitations pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(2) applies whistleblower actions. This ruling came from Ford v. Minnesota Public Schools, --- N.W.2d ---, (Minn. Ct. App. 2014). In Ford, Yvette Ford

Non-compete Agreement in the Sale of a Business

In 1991 the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the covenant not to compete in connection with a sale of a business. The covenant not to compete was upheld because it was narrow, limited in time and geographic scope, and permitted the parties to the transaction to be able to compete with each other outside of the

Minnesota Employers Are Having Trouble Complying with the New “Ban the Box” Law

In 2014, Governor Dayton signed into law Minnesota Statutes § 364.01-364.10, collectively called the Ban the Box Legislation. The Ban the Box legislation expands to private employers the prohibition of requiring a potential employee to admit on a job application whether or not they have been convicted of a serious crime, on a job application

OSHA’S New Rule for Workers Performing Electric Power Generation: Q&A

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently updated its standards for safety work practices in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. The new regulations can be found here. OSHA stated that new standards were needed because the previous ones, promulgated in 1972, were outdated and inconsistent with the current general industry standard. It is

HIPAA: Protecting Against Public Disclosure of Private Information

The HIPAA privacy rule protects individual’s medical records and other personal health information and applies to health plans, a health care clearing house, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically. The requirement under the rule is to establish safe guards to protect the privacy of personal health information and sets

Employment Law

A business owner has the responsibility to be aware of employment laws and how they affect their business and employees. Employers have to comply with federal laws enforced by the Department of Labor (DOL), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Minnesota state law, and the Minnesota Department of Labor.

Employment Related Problems

There are many state and federal laws in place to protect an employee in the workplace, however bringing a claim against an employer can be intimidating and you may feel like it is you against the employer, the company, the HR department, and the company’s attorney. For this reason, it is important to hire an

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Services to Employers

Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry has a Workplace Safety Consultation unit that offers a number of consultation services to help employers prevent accidents and diseases, through several employer assisted programs. Upon request, companies can obtain free on-site safety and health consultation assistance. Employers can use the service to find out about potential hazards, improve

Physician Noncompete Agreements: Enforceable in Medical & Healthcare Organizations

Is a noncompete agreement between a medical or healthcare company enforceable against a physician? Please address both noncompete agreements with a physician selling a medical practice and noncompete agreements with a physician who is an employee. In general, noncompete agreements between the buyer and seller of a business, including a medical or healthcare operation, are

The Reemergence of the Public Employment Relations Board

This past legislative session saw big changes to Minnesota Statute Chapter 179A, the Public Employment Labor Relations Act (“PERLA.”) The biggest change was the reemergence of the (PERB). The creation of the PERB was one of the biggest changes since PERLA was enacted in the 1970’s. Minnesota has previously had a PERB, however, its responsibilities

Federal and Minnesota Laws Prohibiting Discrimination

Under Title VII of the U. S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that employers are prohibited from refusing to hire, discharge, or to treat employees differently because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Title VII applies to employers “who have fifteen (15) or more employees for each working day and each

FMLA: Recent Case Law

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) has been around for 20 years and since its inception has been very well received and accepted in the workplace. Recent rulings regarding FMLA’s staying power have helped solidify its prominence in the work place. FMLA states that employees can take up to 12 weeks of job protected leave

Requirements for Employee Breaks and Leave

For the most part, employers can set their own policies regarding breaks during the day and leave time. The exception to this would be if there is a collective-bargaining agreement. For an employee who works eight or more consecutive hours a break must be provided with enough time eat a meal. The employer does not

Whistleblower Law in Minnesota

An employee in good faith reports violation or suspected violation of any federal or state law or rule adopted pursuant to law to an employer or to any government body or law enforcement official, A public body or office asks an employee to participate in the investigation hearing or inquiry, Employee has an objective basis

Tips for New Businesses When Hiring an Employee

The number of issues and tax implications to consider when hiring an employee. Below is a checklist that can assist an employer in following the necessary steps needed when hiring employees. In general, a worker is considered an employee if the employer has the legal right to control the manner and means of performing the

Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employers

Workers’ compensation insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who have suffered a work-related injury or disease. The intent of Minnesota’s Workers’ Compensation statute is to “assure the quick and efficient delivery of indemnity and medical benefits to injured workers at a reasonable cost to the employers…” For purposes of workers’ compensation insurance,

Employer Rights and Responsibilities under the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Act

The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Act’s purpose is “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the state of Minnesota safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” Minnesota’s OSHA standards are codified in chapter 182 of Minnesota’s statutes. Minnesota’s Occupational Safety and Health Rules also adopt

Employee Unexcused Absences

Absences from work make it harder for employees to keep their jobs and if they do lose them the absences can adversely affect an employee’s ability to get unemployment compensation. In four recent unpublished Minnesota Court of Appeals cases, the court has upheld lower court decisions finding that the employee had committed “misconduct” disqualifying him

Employer Recordkeeping Requirements & Statement of Wages

Under federal law and Minnesota state law, employers are required to keep a variety of records about their employees. Federal law requires employers to keep information regarding their employees. Most of this information is already maintained by the employer during its normal course of business. There is no requirement that the information be kept or

Employer References: How Much Can I Say?

A private employer, which is defined as an employer that is not a government entity, such as a state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision, is protected from liability for disclosure of certain kinds of information when contacted for reference. Information that an employer can share about a former employee when called for reference is

Fair Credit Reporting Act & Background Checks – Part Four

Thus far in this series, we have examined the basic requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, while highlighting potential challenges for employers as it pertains to litigation and ban the box legislation. The final installment of this series focuses another aspect of background screening that employers are wise to focus on – the Equal

Tortious Interference with Non-Compete Agreements

Non-compete agreements are between employers and employees. However, what happens when an employee leaves an employer is subject to a non-compete, and then that employees new employer somehow interferes with that non-compete? The new employer can be sued for tortious inference with a non-compete agreement. Minnesota has well established case law that supports this cause

Fair Credit Reporting Act & Background Checks – Part Three

More Cities and States Join the “Ban the Box” Movement The first two parts of this series focused on employers’ obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act when conducting background checks and the rise in class action litigation. Part Three of this series shifts gears slightly to highlight another important issue for employers – “ban

Fair Credit Reporting Act & Background Checks – Part Two

Employers Are Increasingly Vulnerable to Background Screening Class Action Lawsuits As addressed in Part One of this series, background screening is becoming increasingly more commonplace amongst employers all of sizes, in all industries. With the explosion of the background screening market, class action lawsuits scrutinizing employers’ compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements

Fair Credit Reporting Act & Background Checks – Part One

Fair Credit Reporting Act & Background Checks – What Every Employer Must Know Now Several years ago, background screening was a somewhat isolated practice reserved for national organizations and sensitive positions, such as those working with vulnerable populations or in the financial sector. As negligent hiring lawsuits rise and the job market becomes more competitive,

Ban the Box Law

Minnesota’s Ban the Box Law: How Does it Effect the Employee Application Process? In 2014, Governor Dayton signed into law Minnesota Statutes § 364.01-364.10, collectively called the Ban the Box Legislation. The Ban the Box legislation expands to private employers the prohibition of requiring a potential employee to admit on a job application whether or

Public Employee Testimony is Protected from Workplace Retaliation: Lane v. Franks

In the June 19, 2014 opinion, the United States Supreme Court held that sworn testimony by public employees outside their job responsibilities, is protected by the First Amendment from retaliation. The court ultimately ruled that the testimony given by Edward Lane should not have resulted in his termination from his job. In 2006, Lane was

Non-Compete Agreements: Basics

A non-compete agreement is a type of contract that generally prohibits an employee from competing against his or her employer for a period of time after that employee leaves their employment. It can be a great way for employers to protect the time and value that they’ve put into the employee, however, there are special

Negligent Retention & Supervision

In Minnesota, courts recognize causes of actions against employers based on negligence, which include negligent supervision and negligent retention. Liability for negligent supervision for an employee is imposed under a theory of respondeat superior. Minnesota Court of Appeals has stated, “the basis of liability is that the tortious act is committed in the scope of

Unjust Enrichment in Minnesota

What is Unjust Enrichment? Unjust enrichment exists when one person is allowed to profit at another’s expense without making restitution for the reasonable valuable of any profit or services that have been unfairly received or retained. The most common example of this is if two parties enter into an understanding for services to be rendered

Pregnancy Discrimination Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act

In Dahl v. Regents of University of Minnesota, No. A12-1076, WL 1187996 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 6, 2013), the former CFO, Peg Dahl, of the University of Minnesota Press (“U Press”) took the position in February 2008. In March 2008 Dahl notified U Press that she was pregnant. About a week prior to going on

Affordable Care Act: Contraceptives Coverage & Freedom of Religion

Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) issued a landmark decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. on June 30, 2014. The Court ruled that closely-held for-profit companies can deny coverage of contraceptives under their group health plan based on religious grounds. Below are some frequently asked questions for businesses about the

Supreme Court Invalidates Appointments to National Labor Relations Board

In January 2012 President Obama appointed three members to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) while the Senate was in a pro forma session. Certain judges and senior officials of agencies such as the NLRB are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Under certain circumstances, however, the president may make appointments when

Quick Tips for Non-Compete Agreements

Non-compete agreements can be important tools for employers. Below is a list of quick tips to think about when drafting and executing non-compete agreements with employees. Make sure that the employee signs the non-compete agreement at the outset of employment. Like with any contract, a non-compete has to be supported by consideration. The consideration at

Workplace Defamation

In this new economy plagued with high unemployment and fiscal uncertainty it has become increasingly more frequent for ex-employees to bring workplace defamation claims against their former employer alleging that statements made in connection with that employee’s dismissal were defamatory. While a majority of these types of cases are hard to pursue, there have been

Minnesota’s New Minimum Wage Hike is Fast Approaching

On August 1, 2014 Minnesota’s new minimum wage takes effect. Starting August 1, if a large employer has an annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more, that employer must pay at least $8.00 an hour. Prior to August 1, 2014 the annual threshold for a large employer was gross revenue of $625,000 or more. Under

Right to a Jury Trial Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act

The Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) was recently amended to provide a right to a jury trial for claims arising under that law. The MHRA, which prohibits a wide range of conduct in the housing, public accommodation, and education sectors, is most commonly known for prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed,

Jury Trials Now Allowed Under Minnesota Human Rights Act

Governor Dayton recently signed into law an amendment to Minnesota Statute 363A.33 which now states that a person who brings a claim under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) seeking redress for an unfair discriminatory practice is entitled to a jury trial. In the past, a judge could hear a MHRA case solely on his

Trade Secrets: Why They Matter to Your Business

In the world of electronic sharing and emails providing data at lightning speed, the issue of trade secrets has become an increasing concern for all businesses. Minnesota recognized this and adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in 1980. A trade secret is information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that

Categorizing Employees vs. Independent Contractors

Small business owners in Minnesota often wonder whether a person who works for them should be considered an employee or independent contractor for tax purposes. Here are the factors to consider. As a business owner, whether you hire someone as an independent contractor or as an employee will impact how much taxes you pay and

Protect Your Business from Employee Fraud

By altering company deposit slips, an employee was able to embezzle $244,000. She prepared two deposit slips: one put funds into the company’s account and the other put funds into her own bank account. This went on for over three years without detection because the employee handled both bookkeeping and deposit activities for the company.

Update on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

Update on the PPACA By Dennis P Begley CLU ChFC LUTFC CBC CBiz Benefits We are approaching the final date for full implementation of the Health Care Reform. Ready or not, January 1, 2014, is THE date. When I say ready or not that means not only business people and individuals, but it also means

FAQ: Pregnancy, Nursing, Parenting, Sick Leave Under MNWESA

The Women’s Economic Security Act, which was signed into law on May 11, 2014, includes a number of new required health, pregnancy, and sick leave accommodations and benefits from employers. Here are some FAQs on these newly expanded requirements. An employer must grant an unpaid leave of absence of 12 weeks (the previous requirement was

Recover Your Severance Agreement Payments After Ex-Employee’s Breach

It is common in Minnesota for employers to offer severance compensation to employees. These types of agreements vary greatly from business to business and provide an opportunity for the employer to obtain a release of potential claims in exchange for severance benefits, among other things. The parties to a severance agreement may think that their

Equal Pay Certificate FAQ

Governor Dayton recently approved a package of bills titled the Women’s Economic Security Act to enhance conditions for women in the workplace. A portion of the new law requires businesses in certain situations to apply for and provide an “equal pay certificate.” Below are anticipated frequently asked questions to help guide businesses as they are

Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act

On Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed into law the Women’s Economic Security Act, providing a variety of new protections and remedies for employees and new requirements for Minnesota employers. Some of the key changes made by the Act are described below. You can access the full text of the Act

Misclassification of Employees: Payroll Audits Increase

Misclassifying employees as independent contractors can create significant problems for employers. If an employer is found to have misclassified an employee, the employer could be subject to, among other things, varies fines, penalties, interest, and back taxes. In order to curb the widespread misclassification of employees as independent contractors, the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage

Workers Privacy Rights

In today’s world, new technologies have made it possible for employers to monitor many aspects of their employees' activity. Recent surveys have found that a majority of employers do monitor their employees. Employee privacy rights revolve around one basic conflict: employers want to be able to ensure that their employees are being productive, but employees

Employment Discrimination in Minnesota

This is a summary of employment discrimination laws in Minnesota and how employers can protect themselves. In Minnesota, employees are protected from discrimination by both federal and state law. A discrimination claim requires that the employer has taken some adverse employment action against the employee because the employee belongs to a protected class. Even employees

Unfair Trade Practices

Unfair Competition Unfair competition is not a tort with specific elements; instead it describes a general category of torts which courts recognize for the protection of commercial interests. Rehabilitation Specialists, Inc. v. Koering, 404 N.W.2d 301, 305 (Minn. App. 1987) citing W. Prosser and W. Keeton, The Law of Torts § 130, at 1015 (5th

Minnesota Increases Minimum Wage for Employees

On April 14, 2014, Minnesota enacted legislation increasing the state’s minimum wage for employees. The last time Minnesota increased the state’s minimum wage laws was in 2005. The new law, which begins to take effect starting on August 1, 2014, gradually increases the minimum wage employers must pay their employees each year. By 2016, the

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): Employer Mandate

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is a very large and complex law that was designed to significantly overhaul the United States healthcare system. The ACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010, and on June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality. The ACA, among other things, imposes new regulation and

The Top 4 Risks to Your Company’s Confidential Information

If you are like most companies in the Information Age, your confidential information is critical to your competitive advantage.
What is Your Company's Confidential Information? Each company has its own confidential information, often called "trade secrets." For you, this might be client data, prospect databases, client files, formulas, recipes, or processes that give you an advantage over your competitors.

Business Owners: How to Review Your Business to Avoid Problems

Each year, business owners should take some time away from their business operations to think about the big picture. It's a great time to reflect on successes and challenges over the past year. It is also a great time to reflect on your recent accomplishments. Did you accomplish the items that were most important to

Criminal Background Checks are Now Illegal on Minnesota Job Applications

Recent amendments to Minnesota law preclude employers from making early inquiries into a job applicant’s criminal history. Effective January 1, 2014, employers may only inquire into an applicant’s criminal history: 1. After the applicant has been selected for an interview; or 2. If there is no interview, after a conditional offer of employment is made

Same-Sex Marriage & Small Business: What Minnesota Companies Need to Know About the New Marriage Laws

In 2013, Minnesota became one of thirteen U.S. states that legally recognize same-sex marriage. (See footnote 1.) If you are a business owner and have employees who are married to someone of the same-sex there are several critical changes in the law you must note as an employer. All business employers must now assess their

Does being fired because of your salary constitute age discrimination?

Does being fired because of your salary constitute age discrimination? thumbnail

It depends but ordinarily not. The United States Supreme Court has held that an employer does not violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634, by acting on the basis of a factor, such as an employees’ pension status, seniority or salary, that is empirically correlated with age.[1] Firing an employee because

Employees’ Rights & Grievances Under The Railway Labor Act

Train

i. Whether a claim that an employer interfered with its employees’ rights under Railway Labor Act falls within the jurisdiction of the adjustment boards or federal courts. The Railway Labor Act (“RLA”) establishes adjustment boards for the purpose of arbitrating “disputes between an employee or group of employees and a carrier (“employer”)…growing out of the

When Does the FMLA Apply to Connected Businesses?

MN FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") requires covered employers to allow eligible employees a total of 12-weeks of leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child; the care of a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition;

Can a Company Split into Separate Entities to Evade the ADA?

Disabled Employee

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) was enacted in 1990 and amended in 2008 by the ADA Amendments Act. The purpose of the act is to remedy discrimination against persons suffering in the workplace because of a disability. (See footnote 1.) In order for an employee to be entitled to the protections of the ADA,

Noncompetes and Prohibited Competition in Minnesota

Non-compete agreements are common in contracts in Minnesota. If you have a non-compete agreement in a contract with someone else, it is a promise that you, or the other party, has made. A non-compete agreement is an agreement that one party will not compete with the other party to the contract. It could be part

Overview of Non-Solicitation Agreements in Minnesota

Closing the contract

A non-solicitation agreement is a type of non-compete agreement that typically restricts an individual (usually a former employee) from soliciting either employees or customers of the business. Good employees are difficult to find and develop. Thus, after having spent time and resources training a particular employee, a company will have a natural interest to prevent

Private Causes of Action under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act

Private Causes of Action under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act thumbnail

The Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act, Minnesota Statutes Chapter 176, requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance to its employees. Similarly, the Act provides for four separate and distinct causes of action where an employer attempts to evade its responsibilities under the Act. Section 176.82, subdiv. 1, provides a cause of action for: threatening to discharge

Sexual Harassment & The Minnesota Human Rights Act

Sexual Harassment & The Minnesota Human Rights Act thumbnail

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”), it is an unfair employment practice for an employer to discriminate against a person with respect to hiring, tenure, compensation, terms, upgrading, conditions, facilities, or privileges of employment, on the basis of the individual’s sex. (See footnote 1.) For purposes of sex discrimination, the term “discriminate” includes sexual

Does a Material Change in an Employee’s Job Duties Void the Employee’s Non-Compete Agreement?

The material change doctrine is a legal theory that developed in Massachusetts. (See footnote 1.) Under Massachusetts' law, each time an employee’s employment relationship with the employer changes materially such that they have entered into a new employment relationship a new restrictive covenant must be signed. (See footnote 2.) Although there is not a material

Is it Against the Law for an Employer to Hire an Undocumented Immigrant?

Is it Against the Law for an Employer to Hire an Undocumented Immigrant? thumbnail

Yes, it is against the law for an employer to hire undocumented immigrants. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (See footnote 1) an employer is prohibited from “knowingly” employing “unauthorized aliens." (See footnote 2.) An unauthorized alien means that the person is not either: lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or authorized to be employed

Can an Employee be Punished or Fired for Refusing to Engage in Illegal Activity?

Can an Employee be Punished or Fired for Refusing to Engage in Illegal Activity? thumbnail

No, an employer may not fire or otherwise punish an employee for reporting or refusing to engage in illegal activity. According to Minnesota Statutes Section 181.932, “[a]n employer shall not discharge, discipline, threaten, otherwise discriminate against, or penalize an employee…because the employee…reports a violation or suspected violation of any federal or state law.” Additionally, an

Laws on Sexual Solicitation of Employee in Minnesota

Sexual Solicitation of an Employee

Is Your Boss Inappropriate at Work? Employees don't have to endure a hostile work environment. Bosses don't have a right to ask employees to do whatever they want. This article explains some of the protections available to employees and how good employers should treat their employees. This is meant to serve as a guide to

Firing an Employee Seeking Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 176.82, subd. 1, provides for a cause of action for: threatening to discharge an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefit; intentionally obstructing an employee seeking benefits; or, discharging an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits. A claim for threatening to discharge an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits in violation of Minn.

Changes to Retaliation in Employment Claims

Changes to Retaliation in Employment Claims thumbnail

Changes to Retaliation in Employment Claims Retaliation in employment claims came into sharp focus with the Supreme Court’s June 24, 2013, ruling. For the first time, the Supreme Court established the necessary causation standard required for an employee to bring a retaliation claim against an employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Test in Minnesota

Are you trying to figure out if a person working for you is an "independent contractor" vs. "employee" under Minnesota law? This brief article explains the basic test to use and provides additional resources. Obviously, Minnesota employers would like to categorize everyone as independent contractors so employers don't have to pay unemployment if they fire

Employment Law Tips for Minnesota Small Businesses

Small business owners have to wear many hats - accountants, marketing, and human resources to name a few. With the variety of employment law claims out there, it is important for small business owners to be aware of potential pitfalls with employment law issues. Here are a few things to consider in handling human resources

COBRA and Health Insurance: Changes with the 2009 Stimulus Bill

Continuation of Group Health and Life Insurance Coverage, or COBRA, is a federal law that requires employers to continue health insurance coverage for terminated employees under certain circumstances. The employer must have provided group health insurance coverage to employees and have over twenty employees before the law applies. If you are terminated or laid off,

When Is My Employee Entitled to Overtime? Minnesota Overtime Laws

Most people have heard of overtime laws. In general, if you work more than 40 hours in one work week, you are entitled to be paid one-and-a-half times your regular rate for all hours exceeding 40. The law includes exemptions for several professionals or highly paid people. In addition, the Fair Labor Standards Act provides

Minnesota Employment Lawyer Legal Fees and Expenses Explained

Often times people are afraid to seek legal advice because they are not sure if they can afford a lawyer. For people who have suffered employment discrimination or who have been wrongfully terminated, the fear of additional expense is a very real concern. Law firms offer several fee structures to help people get a lawyer

Workers’ Compensation Claims and Denials in Minnesota

After a workers’ compensation claim is made by an employee if the insurer denies the claim the litigation process will begin. In order for an employee to determine the strengths and weaknesses of his or her opponent’s case, the employee must conduct “discovery.” In order for an employer and/or insurer to determine the strengths and

Employment Issues Related to Minority Shareholder Rights

This post is part of a series of posts related to Minnesota minority shareholder rights. The following posts cover specific issues related to minority shareholder rights: Introduction to minority shareholder rights Employment issues Dividends Accessing Corporate records Corporate Governance Squeeze-outs In Gunderson v. Alliance of Computer Professionals, Inc., 628 N.W.2d 173 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001),

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): New 2013 Regulations

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): New 2013 Regulations thumbnail

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) was recently amended by the United States Department of Labor (DOL). The changes adopted by the DOL are effective as of March 8, 2013. The new regulations, among other things, expand protections to military families and airline flight crews. Specifically, the updated regulations provide families of

Avoid Confusion in Wage & Hour Claims: Minnesota Statute § 181.13

Avoid Confusion in Wage & Hour Claims: Minnesota Statute § 181.13 thumbnail

It is inevitable: every employer is eventually going to have to discharge an employee. What many employers do not realize is that the employee can immediately demand all wages or commissions earned up to the date of termination. Even when employers have established a biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly payroll, they have only 24 hours to

Are Unpaid Interns Against the Law? Overview of FLSA & Free Internships

Are Unpaid Interns Against the Law? Overview of FLSA & Free Internships thumbnail

What Requirements must be met to qualify a person as an intern under the FLSA? For-Profit Companies There are six criteria, according to the Department of Labor, that must be met in order to qualify a person as an intern and exempt a for-profit employer from paying minimum wage.…

Proposed Noncompete Legislation

Proposed Noncompete Legislation thumbnail

Today I'm discussing proposed changes to noncomplete agreements in Minnesota. Under the current law, noncomplete agreements are enforceable if they are fairly bargained for, if there's adequate consideration, and if the geographic and temporal restrictions are reasonable. Under proposed legislation, noncomplete agreements are going to be void in the State of Minnesota, except for three

Employers Must Update Minnesota Family & Medical Leave Act Poster

Employers Must Update Minnesota Family & Medical Leave Act Poster thumbnail

A recently issued final ruling is requiring employers with 50 or more employees to post an updated version of the poster entitled "Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act." All employers of 50 or more employees must display the poster authored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) explaining important provisions

The End of Noncompete Agreements in Minnesota?

H.F. No. 506, as introduced - 88th Legislative Session (2013-2014) Many Minnesota employees and employers entered into a noncompete agreement as a condition of employment upon hiring a new employee. These agreements are designed to protect a business from the harm of training a new employee, granting that employee access to customer or vendor contacts,

Employment Law and the Internet: MN Employment Law in the Internet Age

Employment Law and the Internet: MN Employment Law in the Internet Age thumbnail

The Internet affects the relationships between employers and employees. E-mail communication has become commonplace as a fast and easy method of communication between employees, clients, and the public. The following posts cover issues that businesses should be aware of with respect to employee use of the Internet.

Accessibility-Americans With Disabilities Act and the Internet

Accessibility-Americans With Disabilities Act and the Internet thumbnail

In one of the first court decisions to consider the applicability of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) to websites, a federal judge rejected a lawsuit contending that a Southwest Airlines website violated the ADA because it was not accessible by blind users

Online Defamation in MN: Defamation, Slander, Libel and the Internet

Online Defamation in MN: Defamation, Slander, Libel and the Internet thumbnail

This post is part of a series of posts entitled A Legal Guide to the Internet. For a comprehensive list of articles contained in this series, click here. Defamation is a major issue on the Internet, largely because of its widespread reach and its ability to conceal anonymous users. The basic issues underlying defamation on

Misc. Concerns Regarding the Internet: Framing, Frames & iframes

Misc. Concerns Regarding the Internet: Framing, Frames & iframes thumbnail

Framing is another approach to keeping a particular business in the mind of a viewer. It allows the content of one site to surround or “frame” the content of a “framed” site, thus enabling a web site to bring up the content of the other website within its own display borders.

Are Online Web Links Legal? Linking, Links & Internet Law

Are Online Web Links Legal? Linking, Links & Internet Law thumbnail

Easy movement from one web site to another is available through “links” between web sites. Hypertext links are the highlighted text, pictures, or logos on a website that, when selected by a user, connect to another web page.

Employment Law: Employee Laptops & Trace Removal Software

Employment Law: Employee Laptops & Trace Removal Software thumbnail

On March 8, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit) determined that a person who is provided a laptop by a company and who uses a trace removal software tool to erase data, may be liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act [18 U.S.C. § 1030] even without an employment agreement or corporate policy prohibiting the use of such programs.

Employment Law: Contracts And Noncompetition Agreements

Employment Law: Contracts And Noncompetition Agreements thumbnail

A written employment contract should be used to specify the rights and duties of both the employer and employee. Contracts clearly define all the terms and conditions of employment and prevent future disputes. Employment contracts should be prepared with an understanding of how the law and Internet technology will affect the employer/employee relationship.

E-Mail And Internet Usage Policies for Employers in Minnesota

E-Mail And Internet Usage Policies for Employers in Minnesota thumbnail

The best solution to limiting an employer’s liability is to establish an official e-mail usage policy. This policy should be carefully conceived and disseminated to all employees. A physical copy should be given to employees and posted with other official legal notices to employees. Also, employees should acknowledge agreement with that policy.

Monitoring Employee’s Email in MN: Email Privacy at Work

Monitoring Employee’s Email in MN: Email Privacy at Work thumbnail

One method of reducing an employer’s liability is to monitor or at least have the right to monitor employee e-mail. There are limitations to the extent an employer may monitor e-mail. Statutes have carved out exceptions to allow a company to monitor employee activity where there is a legitimate business purpose.

Employer Liability for Employee Internet Use

Employee’s holding a picture frame

The ease at which e-mail is transmitted encourages informality and often reduces inhibitions. E-mail allows for the rapid dissemination of ideas, plans, and documents. Employees are frequently allowed unlimited access to e-mail and the Internet. This exposes the employer to many risks.

Classifying Internet Workers: Employee vs Independent Contractor

Classifying Internet Workers: Employee vs Independent Contractor thumbnail

This post is part of a series of posts entitled A Legal Guide to the Internet. For a comprehensive list of articles contained in this series, click here. To determine how the law of the Internet applies to employees, one must first determine whether an individual is an employee. There is not always an obvious

Sample Employment Agreement Template for Minnesota Businesses

Sample Employment Agreement Template for Minnesota Businesses thumbnail

The parties wish to provide for the employment of the EMPLOYEE by the COMPANY. B. The EMPLOYEE wishes to receive compensation from the COMPANY for the EMPLOYEE’s services, and the COMPANY wants reasonable protection of its confidential business and technical information

Employee/Shareholders & “Unfairly Prejudicial” Actions Under 302A.751

Minority shareholders who also work as employees for closely-held corporations often find themselves in abusive situations that they seemingly can’t get out of. Typically, shareholders have no secondary market in which to sell their shares, and buy-sell agreements with the corporation can limit shareholder options even further. Additionally, those buy-sell agreements may force the shareholder

MN Labor Law Requirements for Employment Posters

Poster Requirements for Minnesota Employers Minnesota employers are subject to both Federal and State laws that require the display of information regarding the rights of employees. Some requirements depend on the type of employer, while some apply to nearly all employers. This is a brief list of poster requirements different employers must satisfy. The notices

Should I Settle My Workers’ Compensation Case? Settling Workmans Comp Cases

The decision to settle can never be an easy decision to make. Many different factors need to be weighed into your decision. It is imperative that all of your options have been thought out so that an informative decision can be made. In first evaluating whether a settlement is reasonable or whether you should even

Minneapolis Non-Solicitation Agreements: What is the Purpose of a Non-Solicitation Agreement?

A solicitation is defined as a request, an enticement, or an allurement. Non-solicitation agreements prohibit requesting, enticing, or alluring someone to do something. Non-solicitation agreements are used by many Minnesota businesses. A non-solicitation agreement is a contract. It may be one provision in a contract, or it may contain the entire contract. When a company

Should Businesses Require Employees and Other Contractors to Sign Confidentiality Agreements?

Few people can run a business alone. Most business owners need the assistance of employees, vendors, and other independent contractors in order to run their businesses. However, the inclusion of other people in the affairs of a business necessarily includes others in the circle of people who know certain information about the business not generally

Minneapolis Confidentiality Agreements: What is a Confidentiality Agreement?

Do you own a business and want to require your employees to keep your business’s information confidential? Are you an employee who is being asked by your employer to sign a confidentiality agreement? A confidentiality agreement is a contract. Contracts are promises. Confidentiality agreements are used in situations where someone will learn confidential information of

Minnesota Non-Solicitation Agreements: Need Independent Consideration?

The question is whether a non-solicitation agreement in Minnesota requires consideration similar to that required of non-compete agreements. The short answer is yes, non-solicitation agreements do require independent consideration similar to that required of non-compete agreements. However, in some situations, independent consideration is not required for either a non-solicitation agreement or non-comepte agreement, such as

Minnesota Employment Agreements | Employment Contracts

Employment contracts may be written or oral. Employment contracts may be provided to employees who would not otherwise accept employment without the security of a contract, or in cases where the employer wishes to secure certain protections, such as the protection of confidential information or trade secrets. Employment contracts typically set forth the term or

Employment Agreements | Protection of Confidential Information

Minnesota law protects employers' confidential information and trade secrets in several ways. First, an employee has a generally recognized duty of loyalty to not disclose trade secrets or proprietary information of the employer. Second, the statutory Uniform Trade Secrets Act, adopted by Minnesota, prohibits misappropriation of trade secrets. And third, employers may require employees to

Did an Ex-Employee Steal Your Clients, Data, IP or Trade Secrets?

Under Minnesota law, employers have rights when a former employee takes client lists, customer info, computer data, intellectual property, and trade secrets. The Minnesota “Uniform Trade Secrets Act” gives significant rights to employers to protect confidential information and trade secrets. The Act is Codified in Minn. Stat. Ann. § 325C. A Trade Secret is information,

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Classification

In any relationship where an individual is hired to complete work for another it is important to determine whether or not that person is being hired as an employee or as an independent contractor. This classification matters greatly to both the employer and the individual hired, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both classifications.

Wrongful Termination in Minnesota

When someone is fired from a job, it is a normal reaction to think about whether or not he or she was terminated wrongfully. In Minnesota, there are laws in place that protect employees from being fired for unjust reasons. Minnesota is considered an “at will” state, which means that any employer may fire an

Are Non-Competes Enforceable in Minnesota?

Clients often ask me whether a non-compete agreement is enforceable in Minnesota. The answer is simply yes, in general. Unlike some states, like California, Minnesota law generally recognizes a non-compete agreement. Now there are some exceptions to that. For example, if you're an employee who has signed a non-compete agreement after entering into employment, and

When is Sexual Harassment a Hostile Work Environment in Minnesota?

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Minnesota employees may wonder what qualifies as sexual harassment or an unlawfully hostile work environment. In Rasmussen et al. v. Two Harbors Fish Company et al. (2012), the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently explained. Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, an unfair employment practice occurs when an employer, because of a person’s sex, discriminates against

Minnesota Workplace Retaliation & Whistleblower Protection

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In order to empower employees to assert their legal rights without fear of reprisal from their employers, federal and state law offers employees a cause of action against workplace retaliation. Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer discharges, disciplines, threatens, or otherwise discriminates against or penalizes employees because they report a violation of any federal or

How to Collect Unpaid Overtime Wages in Minnesota

Minnesota attorney Aaron Hall explains how to collect unpaid overtime wages in Minnesota. Minnesota employees who are owed overtime wages have rights under Minnesota law to collect those wages from the employer. There are two typical circumstances where an employee is owed overtime wages. One is where the employee is misclassified as salaried and as

When Can an Employer Give a Pre-Employment Physical?

Strictly speaking, pre-employment examinations are illegal. However, Minnesota law allows employers who have already made an offer of employment to determine the employee’s capability of meeting essential functions of a job. During these examinations, it is vitally important to maintain privacy and medical confidentiality. Employers’ and employees’ rights in this matter are governed by the

Employment Discrimination in MN: How to File a Claim

The MHRA applies to all employers of one or more employees. Under the Act, no employer, labor organization, or employment agency can unfairly deny employment, membership, or referral for employment. Under the Act, anyone who aids or abets a violation, obstructs compliance, or retaliates against a person seeking enforcement, is in violation of the Act.

Minnesota Income Tax Marriage Credit | Marriage Penalty

There are many marriage penalties and bonuses under the federal and Minnesota income taxes. A marriage penalty occurs when a married couple pays higher tax than they would if each spouse could file as a single and pay tax on his or her own income. A bonus occurs when they pay lower tax as a

MN Emergency Health Powers Act | Management Powers and People’s Rights

The emergency management powers of the governor, the executive council, and other officials are governed by provisions in chapters 9 and 12. The act expands the emergency management powers of the governor and others. Some of the expanded powers may be exercised only when an emergency has been declared, and some powers may be exercised

MN Emergency Health Powers Act | Governor’s Authority

Provisions in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 12, specify when the governor may declare a national security emergency or a peacetime emergency. The governor has discretion in deciding when to declare a national security or peacetime emergency. During an emergency, the governor may exercise additional emergency management powers. The act expands the situations in which the governor