Working with a disgruntled employee is hard on management and coworkers alike. But can you fire someone simply because of a bad attitude? What about a lazy employee or a troublemaker? Yes and no. The issues involved in terminations are complex, but by handling them properly, you reduce the chance your company will have to
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
- 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
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.
Employer Warning: Family-Duty Discrimination Targets Parents & Caregivers
Mothers of young children are almost twice as likely to be employed today than their counterparts were 30 years ago, according to the EEOC. In addition to childcare duties, many of today's employees have caregiving responsibilities for elderly and disabled relatives. The prevalence of caregivers in the workplace can lead to the following stereotypes, the
Don’t Let Trade Secrets Leave With Departing Employees
The courts are filled with cases of former employees stealing proprietary information from the companies they worked for. Before leaving their jobs, these former employees took software, files, customer lists and other proprietary information and either use them in their new positions with competitors or start competing businesses with them. Care must be taken to
Three Elements to Strengthen Non-Compete Clauses
Non-competition clauses are common in employment contracts. They're designed to keep employees from working for competitors for a period of time after leaving a company. One of the many legitimate uses for such clauses is to protect an employer's trade secrets. However, for many years, courts voiced a distinct dislike for non-competition clauses and repeatedly
Pitfalls in Employee Handbook Drug and Alcohol Policies
Don't rush into putting a drug-alcohol abuse policy into your employee handbook. And if you already have a policy on this topic in your handbook, review it to make sure it isn't exposing you and your business to troubles you haven't anticipated. Here are some of the mistakes and omissions in drug-alcohol abuse policies: Having
Volunteering Employees: What’s Your Policy?
There are several reasons why an employer might encourage employees to get involved in community service and volunteer activities outside the workplace. The activities result in good public relations. It's also good for employees' morale and their pride in the company or organization. It may even help the employer attract and keep better employees. So,
Can an Employer Require Friendliness?
How far can an employer go in requiring employees to be friendly? To start, does the employer have a business-related need for friendly employees, who greet customers and smile? It would be the rare business or organization that didn't need employees who treat customers and clients in a personal, friendly way. (Sears, in an 800-store
What Qualifies as a ‘Voluntary Quit?’
When has an employee quit... if he or she fails to notify you? This problem -- the uncertainty of an employee's employment status -- can create all kinds of difficulties for your company. Your employee fails to call in and is gone for five workdays. You assume she's quit so you replace her. On the
Employee Handbooks: Statement of Purpose
Does your employee handbook have a statement of purpose and objectives? Laws and court decisions today require your policies and workplace rules are business-related and work-related. This is why, somewhere in your employee handbook, you need a statement of the purposes and objectives of your policies. Some handbooks include a purpose or objective with each
Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Whistleblower Protection
Some of the most vivid memories of the 2002 corporate scandals were Enron's Sherron Watkins and WorldCom's Cynthia Cooper revealing the financial abuses that occurred at their companies. Later that same year, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed containing new protections for "whistleblowers" like Watkins and Cooper. Sarbanes-Oxley adds to the growing number of laws that
Warning: Cover All Specifics in Employee Disciplinary Memos
A key document in an employee's personnel file is a well-drafted written memo, if you want to strengthen your defense against an employee-initiated action. Most written warnings and disciplinary memos are inadequate because they fail to include several very important elements. Whether you have to defend against an undeserved unemployment insurance claim or against a
If Disability Hampers Job Performance: What to Do?
I have an employee who has developed Multiple Sclerosis (MS). What can I do if the employee can no longer perform certain physical job duties? This is an excellent example of the need for written job descriptions. Your job description will include a complete listing of all essential job duties and concrete estimates of time
Avoid Risks in Job Applicant Testing
A consultant told us that we should be testing applicants. We're really hesitant about this. We've heard testing can get us into legal trouble. What are the pros and cons of testing, and what's the legal risk? Many human resources consultants are advocates of pre-employment testing and pre-employment screening, by using background, credential and employment
Pregnancy: A Delicate Issue for Bosses
Question: One of our waitresses is about eight months pregnant. She looks uncomfortable, and we think the way she looks probably upsets the customers. Can we lay her off now? Answer: We call this the "pregnant worker" question, and although the circumstances are always a bit different, the key question is the same. Can you
Handbook Essentials to Protect Your Business
Generally the task of preparing the content of an employee handbook falls to someone who lacks strong writing skills. After all, executives, managers and supervisors usually aren't hired because of their professional writing skills. Yet it is important that the content in an employee handbook clearly informs employees of the employer's intentions. If the content
Define Employee Types to Avert Questions
How do you define, in your handbook, which employees are entitled to certain benefits? In the past, employers commonly used the concept of "permanent" employee and "probationary" employee. Many employers and their employees still think in those terms. The idea is once a new employee completes so many weeks of satisfactory employment, he or she
Caution: Some Employee Conduct is Protected
Fire an employee for the wrong reason -- or in the wrong situation -- and the employee could claim retaliation and file a lawsuit. Several activities by employees are off-limits to retaliatory actions such as firing or disciplinary action. Any retaliation by the employer could spell potential legal trouble, such as a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Can I Settle a Wrongful Discharge Out of Court?
"I did nothing wrong! Fight the battle to the end." That's the order an angry employer gives lawyers after being served notice of a wrongful discharge suit. But there are good reasons for a less aggressive approach: Settling out of court. Three such reasons are cost of litigation, finality of out-of-court settlements and the need
IRS Extends Deadline to Provide 2016 ACA Forms to Recipients
The IRS announced that it is extending one of the deadlines for providing 2016 Affordable Care Act (ACA) information statements to recipients. Specifically, the due date for furnishing to individuals the 2016 Form 1095-B (Health Coverage) and the 2016 Form 1095-C, (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) is extended from January 31, 2017, to March
New Overtime Rules Suspended for Now
Many employers have been wrestling with plans to comply with new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rules since last May. That's when the rules were finalized, with a December 1 compliance deadline. Those new rules included raising the minimum salary overtime exemption to $913 per week from $455. A little more than a week
Giving Information Can Lead to Lawsuits
Legal hassles can arise when you give references for former employees. These former employees might turn around and sue your organization for defamation. Here's a quick review of the ins and outs of giving references for former employees. Defamation involves communicating false information. Defamation with malice involves communicating information -- even true information when the intent
Negligent Hiring: A Dangerous Risk
Let's say Norm, your new employee, is doing a super job for you. He's energetic, enthusiastic and gets his work done on time and without error. He's everything you thought he'd be from interviewing him and looking at his job application. The same evening, you get a call you can't believe. Your secretary has been
Thwart Legal Trouble: Prepare Supervisors
When you discipline or terminate an employee for cause, are you so confident of the correctness of your actions you'd tell disgruntled, parting employees to contact their attorneys? Are you so confident of the actions of all your managers and supervisors who deal with disciplining and firing employees? One way to gain this level of
Minimize ‘Lookism’ in the Workplace
If you hire the better-looking applicant, rather than the better-qualified applicants, you may expose your company or organization to a lawsuit from the less attractive candidates. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission has ruled that obesity, for example, is a protected condition, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This legislation describes a disability as a
New Version of Form I-9 Issued
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a new version of Form I-9, "Employment Eligibility Verification," that is dated November 14, 2016 and has an August 31, 2019 expiration date. Employers must use the new form beginning on January 22, 2017. Until then, the version dated March 8, 2013 may also be used.
Does Implementing Employee Handbooks Modify Employment Contracts?
Companies of all industries, sizes, and ages would be wise to implement employee handbooks. In addition to setting employment expectations, these handbooks help enforce company policy and formalize processes. However, rolling-out or significantly modifying an employee handbook can raise legal questions. Specifically, does implementation of a new or revised employee handbook constitute a revised contract
Safeguard Your Company Against Harassment Lawsuits
If one of the employees at your company approaches a manager complaining about harassment from a co-worker, you need superb interviewing skills to uncover the truth and protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit. By asking the right questions in the right atmosphere, the investigator can maximize the chance of reaching a fair assessment
Employee Duty of Loyalty to Employer: Customer Solicitation
In many industries when an employee leaves a company, the clients that they interfaced with will follow them. But what if the former employee personally solicited the clients, prior to leaving their original company? Is that considered a breach of their duty of loyalty? When an employer accused a former employee of just that, the Court of
Dentist Associate Agreement Checklist: Five Key Areas
You just graduated dental school and are about to join a preexisting practice. You are presented with an associate employment agreement. It is long, complex, and overwhelming. You were trained in school to practice dentistry, not review contracts. Fortunately you do not have to spend endless hours parsing the agreement word for word. Instead focus
Overtime Rules Change Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Beginning on December 1, 2016, the revised regulations of the FLSA implementing the exemption from overtime pay for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employee (a.k.a. ‘‘EAP’’ or ‘‘white collar’’ exemptions), will become effective. Here is what you need to know about the Final Rule: The Final Rule updates the salary and compensation levels
How to Handle Employee Islamophobia in the Workplace
In the wake of terrorist attacks and divisive political rhetoric, Islamophobia is on the rise. Researchers cite fear as a driving motivator behind many Americans' unfavorable views towards the religion. This fear manifests itself in various forms ranging from attacks on mosques to discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency
How to Handle Employees’ Lewd Sexual Talk in Your Company
If you lead a business, you may need to address lewd sexual conversations in your company. Examples include a lewd joke by email or a sexual conversation in the workplace. Employees may defend this as locker-room banter. As a company leader, what are your legal duties? What are best practices? Donald Trump made headlines when the Washington Post published a video of him boasting of
Can I use criminal & arrest records when making employment decisions?
Maybe. An employer's use of an individual's criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances, violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yes. Remember that the fact of an arrest does not establish that criminal conduct has occurred. An exclusion based on an arrest,
Best Practices: Using Arrest & Conviction Records in Hiring
Be careful when using an individual's criminal history to make an employment decision. In some cases this can violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To avoid any potential violations utilize the below best practices to ensure you are compliant with the law: The following
Salary Clawbacks: Executive Compensation, CEO Wages, & Company Rights
In some cases, Minnesota law permits companies to require CEOs and executives to return compensation they have already received. You may have read in the news where CEO compensation is clawed back, requiring CEOs to give up compensation their companies have already given to them. This compensation is often a right to future pay, such as
How do I use E-Verify? Employer FAQs
E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify is free and easy to use. E-Verify provides an automated link to Government records to help employers confirm the employment eligibility of new hires. E-Verify
How do I complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification?
U.S. employers are required by law to verify the identity and employment authorization of each individual they hire after November 6, 1986, for employment in the United States by completing, Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers who hire or continue to employ individuals knowing that they are not authorized to be employed in the United
Churches & Nonprofits – New Overtime Rule & FLSA
On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Secretary Pérez announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rule updating the overtime regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which will automatically extend overtime pay protections for millions of workers within the first year of implementation. Under the new rule, anybody making a salary
Defend Trade Secrets Act – Employer Tips
In May 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) into law. Prior to enactment, trade secret law had been left to the states, most of which have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The DTSA allows for federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets, available in conjunction with state law claims.
Does a 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. 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. Although there is not a material change rule in Minnesota, the determination
E-Mailing with Your Attorney from Work
E-mailing from computers and texting from mobile devices is something you probably do all day long. But when transmitting and receiving messages, many people have a false sense of security. They feel that only the senders or the recipients can read the communications. However, as some court cases illustrate, the contents of messages can be
Whistleblower Suppression: You Can’t Fire Employees Who Expose Bad Acts
In September 2016, the situation at Wells Fargo went from bad to worse. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Wells Fargo was being fined $185 million for opening or applying for more than two million bank accounts or credit cards in the name of customers, without their knowledge or permission. The scandal led the bank to fire more than
Are You Ready for the New Overtime Rules?
The deadline for the Department of Labor's (DOL's) new final overtime rule is December 1, 2016. While CFOs at most large U.S. companies have been working overtime themselves to prepare for the changes, many small and midsize firms haven't been as quick to react. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law that controls
Minnesota Supreme Court blocks $15 minimum wage from Minneapolis’ ballot
In a unanimous order, released one day after it heard the case, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a proposal to raise the city of Minneapolis' minimum wage to $15 per hour would not appear on November's general election ballot. In siding with Minneapolis in its expedited decision, the Court disappointed activists who had garnered thousands of signatures
Overtime Pay Rules: Avoid Making Costly Wrong Assumptions
Sometimes employers try to make logical assumptions about the way government regulations work. Unfortunately, doing that without checking the fine print can be a prescription for trouble. Here are some real-life scenarios that probably made sense to the employers at the time. But when put to the test, the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and
EEOC Penalties Rise Effective July 2016
When it comes to violations of the labor law posting requirements, it's not that these mandatory notices aren't displayed prominently. It's that they are not displayed at all, says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). And that's a problem. Typically the EEOC is alerted to the issue by employees who are aware of the requirements
Ten Q&A: Uniform Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act
Now that the Uniform Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act (ESOPPA) has gotten the ULC’s seal of approval, it will be officially promulgated for consideration by the states, and legislatures will be urged to adopt it. There is a good chance states, including Minnesota, will comply. Since the ULC’s inception in 1892, the Commission has been responsible for more than
Employers Notice: The Uniform Wage Garnishment Act
Currently, every state has a different wage garnishment law and process. This means that employers who do business across multiple states must know and abide by a different, and often complex, law for each jurisdiction. If employers make processing errors calculating garnishments, they may face civil penalties. That's why the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), now in
Seasonal Workers and the ACA Shared Responsibility Penalty
If your organization employs seasonal workers or part-timers for the holidays, take note: The IRS has issued a Health Care Tax Tip on how these individuals affect whether your business is subject to the shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to report the health care
Non-Compete Agreements: Finding the Right Balance
Non-compete agreements have long been a staple of executive employment contracts. Today, however, they're becoming increasingly common even in lower-level jobs. According to the Wall Street Journal, a steady rise in litigation over non-competes "largely reflects the increased usage of non-compete arrangements among lower-level staffers, along with employees' greater mobility and access to sensitive information."
Handling Employees at the End of an FMLA Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave, over a one-year period. The leave may be for specified family and medical reasons, with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.
Summer Weather Brings Dress Code Challenges for Businesses
Courts generally give employers significant latitude in establishing dress code policies. The key is to not implement a policy that would have a disparate impact on "protected class" employees — that is, based on race, gender, religion, age, national origin or disability status. (Other protected categories, such as pregnancy, citizenship, familial status, veteran status and
Social Media: Job Applicant Screening Laws
Surveys and informal data suggest that employers are increasingly using the web and social media sites to both identify and recruit desirable job candidates, as well as to weed out less desirable candidates. Just as there are legal limitations to screening applicants through more traditional methods, legal issues are likely to arise when applicants are screened online. The following
MN Employment Law – HR Compliance Checklist: Statute 181
Business in Minnesota must operate in compliance with Minn. Stat. § 181 – Employment. Specific Areas of Minn. Stat. § 181 of particular importance include the following: Minn. Stat. § 181.101 – Wages; How Often Paid: Employers must pay employees at least once every 31 days on designated pay days. Specific pay dates can be
Employee Handbooks in Minnesota – Key Topics, Common Pitfalls, and Drafting Tips
Minnesota law does not require that employers have an employee handbook. However, having an employee handbook is highly recommended. The employee handbook is designed to provide employees with a copy of the policy, procedures, and acceptable conduct in the company. Employee handbooks can be as simple or complex as necessary for the job. What is
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
In May 2016, the City of Minneapolis amended its city ordinances to require nearly all employers to provide employees with a minimum amount of paid sick time. Certain employers are excluded, such as those with 5 or fewer employees. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2017. Below are four key provisions of the
New Overtime Rules Issued: What it Means for You
A change in the rules governing overtime has been coming for two years, with a sneak preview of proposed modifications last year. But on May 18, the Department of Labor (DOL) came out with its new final rules, which take effect on December 1, 2016. The rules will significantly raise the salary level used to
The Current State of Minimum Wage Laws, Plus the Overtime Debate
The $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage has been in place since 1991. To have the same purchasing power today, the inflation-adjusted wage would have to be $12.68, according to the CPI Inflation Calculator from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. President Obama has been supporting an increase in the federal minimum wage to $12
Minnesota Employer’s Guide: Collective Rights of Non-Unionized Employees
Under federal and Minnesota law, employees have broad rights, even when they are not union members. In general, employees have the right to act together for protection or to improve working conditions. Employers who violate this right may face action by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or by employees themselves in state court. The
What Misconduct Makes an Employee Ineligible for Unemployment Benefits?
The Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program governs unemployment benefits. The Program provides “workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own a temporary partial wage replacement to assist the unemployed worker to become reemployed.” To be eligible for benefits, an applicant must comply with several requirements. However, if the applicant was discharged from employment due to
When is an employer liable for the action of its employee?
This latin term refers to the basic rule is that the employer or principal will be liable for the negligent acts of an employee or agent if those acts were part of the employee’s or agent’s duties, did not represent a radical departure from the normal conduct of the employee or agent, and were performed at
Employee Breaks: Law, Cases, & Consquences
Employees have a state right to take a meal break and work breaks, there are no federal codes directly related to breaks. Break claims are based directly on state statues, or indirectly on federal regulation or codes related to civil rights. Conflicts arise from unilateral change to policy or willful or repeated violations. Employees are
Do employees have rights to vacation pay under Minnesota law?
Minnesota law does not provide employees with rights with regard to vacation pay. An employee may contract for the terms under which it is eligible for vacation pay so long as the contract terms are not prohibited by, or do not conflict with, Minnesota statutes. Minnesota law does not provide an employee with rights with
Minnesota Employment Law for Companies Headquartered in Other States
The United States Department of Labor is responsible for administering regulations and statutes that affect business and are designed to protect employees from unfair practices. These are standards that business are required to adhere to; however, states also have the power to enact statutes and regulations to protect workers from unfair treatment. As such, corporations
MN Employee Handbooks: Key Topics, Common Pitfalls, & Drafting Tips
The employee handbook has become an essential part of the workplace. It is an efficient and effective way for the employer to set out the rules and expectations that employees are expected to follow. It is also a helpful resource for employees to reference if they are uncertain of workplace rules. Additionally, it is much
An Employer’s Guide to Minnesota Wage Payment Law
Wage Payment is a heavily regulated area of the law and Employers would do well to familiarize themselves with both state and Federal requirements. Here in Minnesota, wage law is largely governed by the Payment of Wages Act (“Wages Act”) at the state level, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at the federal level. Generally
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
Now that treatment with Medical Marijuana is legal in Minnesota, many employers and employees are wondering how to deal with its use in the workplace. Below are Frequently Asked Questions related to Medical Marijuana and the workplace. WHAT IS “MEDICAL CANNABIS” (OR “MEDICAL MARIJUANA”) UNDER MINNESOTA LAW? Under Minnesota Law, “Medical Cannabis” means any
Employers and Social Media: National Labor Relations Act
In today’s world, social media is a part of life. In order to protect productivity at work and protect the company’s reputation, among other things, some employers have implemented social media policies. Some of these social media policies have been challenged, arguing that the policy violates employee rights under the NLRA. In 1935, the National
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
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
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
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
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?
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. Firing an employee because
Employees’ Rights & Grievances Under The Railway Labor Act
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?
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?
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
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
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
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?
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?
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
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 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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