E-Mailing with Your Attorney from Work
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

Whistleblower Suppression: You Can’t Fire Employees Who Expose Bad Acts

Whistleblower Suppression & The Wells Fargo Scandal 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…

Are You Ready for the New Overtime Rules?
Employment Law

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. Current Overtime Rule The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal…

Minnesota Supreme Court blocks $15 minimum wage from Minneapolis’ ballot
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

Employers Notice: The Uniform Wage Garnishment Act

Why was a uniform law needed? 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…

Seasonal Workers and the ACA Shared Responsibility Penalty
Employment Law

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). Background The ACA requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to report the health…

Non-Compete Agreements: Finding the Right Balance
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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…

Employer HR Compliance Checklist – Minnesota Law
Employment Law

Employer HR Compliance Checklist – Minnesota Law

Employers in Minnesota often feel overwhelmed by all the laws affecting employee rights. To help employers, below is a checklist to spot some of common issues. The law requires companies to operate in compliance with Minnesota Statutes chapter 181. Areas of particular importance include the following: Minn. Stat. § 181.101 – Wages; How Often Paid:…

Employee Handbooks in Minnesota – Key Topics, Common Pitfalls, and Drafting Tips
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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. Employment Misconduct 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…

Employer’s Guide: Mandatory Paid Sick Leave in Minneapolis
Employment Law

Employer’s Guide: Mandatory Paid Sick Leave in Minneapolis

Employer’s Guide to the Minneapolis Paid Sick Leave Ordinance 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…

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

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
Employment Law

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?
Employment Law

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?
Employment Law

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

Respondeat Superior This latin term refers to the basic rule is that the employer (principal) will be liable for the negligent acts of an employee (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 an…

Employee Breaks: Law, Cases, & Consquences
Employment Law

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 statutes, 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?
Employment Law

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. Further Explanation: Minnesota law does not provide an employee with…

Minnesota Employment Law for Companies Headquartered in Other States
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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
Employment Law

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. Evidence Needed to Support a Disability Discrimination Claim 1) A Disability The ADA defines…