The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): Employer Mandate

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…

Criminal Background Checks are Now Illegal on Minnesota Job Applications

Criminal Background Checks are Now Illegal on Minnesota Job Applications

New Minnesota Law Limits Inquiries Into a Job Applicant’s Criminal History 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…

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

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…

Does being fired because of your salary constitute age discrimination?

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.[1] Firing an employee because…

Employees’ Rights & Grievances Under The Railway Labor Act

Employees’ Rights & Grievances Under The Railway Labor Act

I. Jurisdiction 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…

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

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

What is the ADA and Whom Does it Cover? 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…

Noncompetes and Prohibited Competition in Minnesota

Noncompetes and Prohibited Competition in Minnesota

What is a Non-Compete Agreement 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…

Overview of Nonsolicitation Agreements in Minnesota

Overview of Nonsolicitation Agreements in Minnesota

A nonsolicitation agreement is a type of noncompete agreement that typically restricts an individual (usually a former employee) from soliciting either employees or customers of the business. Why do employers require nonsolicitation agreements? Good employees are difficult to find and develop. Thus, after having spent time and resources training a particular employee, a company will…

Private Causes of Action under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Firing an Employee Seeking Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota

It is generally illegal in Minnesota to threaten or actually fire an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota. The law seeks to compensate employees who were dismissed in retaliation for pursuing workers’ comp; punish employers engaged in illegal conduct, and discourage others from violating the law. Minn. Stat. § 176.82 of the Minn. Worker’s…

Changes to Retaliation in Employment Claims

Changes to Retaliation in Employment Claims

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar Changes to Retaliation in Employment Claims Issue 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…

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Test in Minnesota

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. The Benefits of Calling All Workers “Independent Contractors” Obviously, Minnesota employers would like to categorize everyone as independent contractors so employers…

Employment Law Tips for Minnesota Small Businesses

Employment Law Tips for Minnesota Small Businesses

  Employment Law 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…

COBRA and Health Insurance: Changes with the 2009 Stimulus Bill

COBRA and Health Insurance: Changes with the 2009 Stimulus Bill

COBRA 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…

When Is My Employee Entitled to Overtime? Minnesota Overtime Laws

When Is My Employee Entitled to Overtime? Minnesota Overtime Laws

Employee Overtime Pay & Minnesota Law 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,…

Minnesota Employment Lawyer Legal Fees and Expenses Explained

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

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…

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

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

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) was 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 eligible…

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

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

Can an Employee Demand Payment of Wages After Being Fired? 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,…

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

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

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

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.” The Poster All employers of 50 or more employees must display the poster authored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) explaining…

The End of Noncompete Agreements in Minnesota?

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,…