How to Prepare for a Minnesota Unemployment Appeal Hearing
Employment Law

How to Prepare for a Minnesota Unemployment Appeal Hearing

Prepare for Your Telephone Hearing You are scheduled to participate in an Unemployment Insurance appeal hearing on the date and time listed in the Notice of Hearing included in this mailing. The purpose of the hearing is for the judge to take sworn testimony and other evidence on the issues involved to make a decision….

Sales Rep Commissions: Employee Legal Rights to Wages in Minnesota
Employment Law

Sales Rep Commissions: Employee Legal Rights to Wages in Minnesota

 Sale representatives paid on commissions have significant legal rights in Minnesota. This article explains the legal protections available to sales representatives who are employees in Minnesota. To determine your rights, you first need to determine whether you are an independent contractor or employee. If you are an independent contractor (not employee), you may have…

Minnesota Employment Rights: Where to Get Help
Employment Law

Minnesota Employment Rights: Where to Get Help

Introduction The following material was prepared by the Minnesota Office of Attorney General to assist those seeking legal help for violations of Minnesota employment law. Wages Some employees receive less in wages than they expect.  This might occur because an employer does not pay for all hours worked, makes unexpected deductions from wages, misses a…

Paying Minimum Wage & Overtime to Home Care Workers: How to Follow FLSA Rules
Employment Law

Paying Minimum Wage & Overtime to Home Care Workers: How to Follow FLSA Rules

The following article explains minimum wage and overtime issues related to home care works, including FLSA rules that apply to employees. Minimum wage As of early 2016, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. That means any worker who is covered by the FLSA minimum wage protections must be paid at least $7.25 an hour for all…

Religious Clothing and Attire at Work: Legal Tips
Employment Law

Religious Clothing and Attire at Work: Legal Tips

This article answers questions about how federal employment discrimination law applies to religious dress and grooming practices, and what steps employers can take to meet their legal responsibilities in this area. Examples of religious dress and grooming practices include wearing religious clothing or articles (e.g., a Muslim hijab (headscarf), a Sikh turban, or a Christian…

How to Avoid Religious Discrimination in Your Company
Employment Law

How to Avoid Religious Discrimination in Your Company

Religious discrimination affects all faiths: Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and more. Employers have liability for their policies and procedures related to how each employee’s religion affects work. Below are best practices for employers and managers in the United States. Disparate Treatment Based on Religion Employer Best Practices Employers can reduce the risk of discriminatory…

Dealing with Employee Xenophobia in Your Business
Employment Law

Dealing with Employee Xenophobia in Your Business

Xenophobia is simply fear of foreigners. Conflict abroad often increases xenophobia in the workplace. This fear may manifest itself in different ways among your employees: distrust, anxiety, or discrimination. On the surface, xenophobia can seriously affect your company’s culture. It can also get your company in legal trouble. For example, the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued…

Can Minnesota Employers Sue Employees for Negligence & Damages?
Employment Law

Can Minnesota Employers Sue Employees for Negligence & Damages?

Are Employees Liable to Their Employers for Negligence? In general, an employee cannot be liable to an employer for the employee’s negligence. Can a Minnesota Employer Sue an Employee for Damages Caused by Negligence? Generally, no. Employers generally cannot sue an employee in Minnesota for damages caused by the employee’s negligence, errors, or omissions. Are there…

Minneapolis and St. Paul Sick-Leave Ordinances
Employment Law

Minneapolis and St. Paul Sick-Leave Ordinances

Governor Dayton vetoes Uniform Labor Standards Act; Mpls. and St. Paul Mandatory Sick and Safe Leave Ordinances To Take Effect July 1 As expected, Governor Dayton has vetoed the Uniform Labor Standards Act which was passed Thursday by both houses of the Minnesota Legislature. Among other things, the bill would have preempted city ordinances imposing higher…

Are Your Non-Disclosure and Other Confidential Information Protections Up to Date?
Employment Law

Are Your Non-Disclosure and Other Confidential Information Protections Up to Date?

“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” Gordon Gekko, Wall Street (1987).   Trade secrets and confidential business information are valuable assets of every business venture.  Be they the byproduct of research and development, business relationships, creative thought and action, or experience through trial and error, in almost all cases, they are assets…

Which Records Must Employers Keep in Employee’s Personnel File?
Employment Law

Which Records Must Employers Keep in Employee’s Personnel File?

Employers often ask me which emails, documents, and information need to be kept in an employee’s HR records. This matters because employees have a right to view the information in their personnel records, but they do not have a right to other information the employer keeps about the employee. Below I explain what is required…

Do Minnesota Employers Need to Explain Why They Fired an Employee?
Employment Law

Do Minnesota Employers Need to Explain Why They Fired an Employee?

Must Minnesota Employers Give a Reason for Terminating Employment? Yes, employers are required to provide the reason for the termination in writing. This law is in Minnesota Statutes section 181.933, subdivision 1: An employee who has been involuntarily terminated may, within 15 working days following such termination, request in writing that the employer inform the…

Do Minnesota Employees Have a Right to Their HR File?
Employment Law

Do Minnesota Employees Have a Right to Their HR File?

Are Minnesota Employers Required to Give Employees a Copy of Their Personnel File? Yes, Minnesota law requires employers to provide employees and ex-employees a copy of their personnel records after the employee submits a written request. A current employee is entitled to review his or her personnel record once every six months. A former employee…

City Minimum Wage Laws in Minnesota: Uniform State Labor Standards Act
Employment Law

City Minimum Wage Laws in Minnesota: Uniform State Labor Standards Act

When the Minneapolis City Council raised the minimum wage for businesses in Minneapolis, it created a number of problems for employers with multiple offices, employers trying to compete with neighboring companies outside of Minneapolis, and other issues. The Minnesota Legislature responded with legislation to prohibit towns, cities, counties, and other local government units from creating…

Selective Open-Door Policy: Burning Bridges Isn't Always the Best
Employment Law

Selective Open-Door Policy: Burning Bridges Isn't Always the Best

Sometimes even the best employees quit because they wonder what it might be like to work for another company. Perhaps, they want a better salary, more benefits, or a change of scenery. In some cases, they might leave to start their own businesses. When that happens, these former employees may discover that the grass isn’t…

Your Employee Handbook: 10 Critical Issues
Employment Law

Your Employee Handbook: 10 Critical Issues

Important Points for Handbooks An employee handbook serves as a guide for managers and employees alike. When well-written and prepared it can help avoid conflict and head off potential problems. A good handbook can also create an incentive for employees to make a long-term commitment to your company. The following list includes 10 major topics…

Cures Act Approves HRAs for Small Employers
Employment Law

Cures Act Approves HRAs for Small Employers

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act. In addition to funding medical research, accelerating cutting-edge treatments for rare diseases and adding significant reforms to the mental health system, the new legislation allows small employers to provide standalone Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to employees without paying penalties imposed by…

Employee, Partner or Both? Recent Developments Help You Decide
Employment Law

Employee, Partner or Both? Recent Developments Help You Decide

Are you an employee, a partner, a partner who doesn’t know it — or a combination of these classifications? The answer can have serious tax implications. If you participate in a business that’s operated as a partnership or a limited liability company, here are some recent developments that you need to know. IRS Position on…

Can You Fire Someone Simply Because Of A Bad Attitude?
Employment Law

Can You Fire Someone Simply Because Of A Bad Attitude?

Know the laws before dismissing problem employees. Question 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? Answer Yes and no. The issues involved in terminations are complex, but by handling them properly,…

Employer Warning: Family-Duty Discrimination Targets Parents & Caregivers
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

Don't Let Trade Secrets Leave With Departing Employees

What precautions does your company take so that employees leaving their jobs don’t take your trade secrets to competitors? 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…

Three Elements to Strengthen Non-Compete Clauses
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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. Common Mistakes Here are some of the mistakes and omissions in drug-alcohol abuse…

Volunteering Employees: What's Your Policy?
Employment Law

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. Questions…

Employee Handbooks: Statement of Purpose
Employment Law

Employee Handbooks: Statement of Purpose

Policies with a 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…

Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Whistleblower Protection
Employment Law

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 Act Sarbanes-Oxley adds to the growing number of…