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: Employers must pay employees at least once every 31 days on designated pay days. Specific pay dates can be designated by the employer or a collective bargaining agreement, so long as the dates do not exceed 31 days.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.11 – Discharged Employees Must Be Paid Within 24 Hours: If the employee’s housing is provided by the employer and discharge will result in a required relocation, then the employer must compensate the employee within 24 hours of termination.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.14 – Payment to Employees Who Quit or Resign; Settlement of Disputes: If an employee quits or resigns, their outstanding pay is due to them no later than the next scheduled payday.
- Minn. Stat. §§ 181.60; 61; 62 – Costs for Medical Exams and Medical Records: Employers requiring medical exams or copies of medical records cannot require the employee to pay for such records or exams.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.64 – False Statements as Inducement for Entering Employment: Employers may not make false statements or promises to entice a potential employee to accept employment.
- Minn. Stat. §§ 181.66; 67; 68; 70; 71 – Equal Pay for Equal Work Law: Minnesota prohibits paying men and women a different wage for equal work based solely on gender. However, differences are allowed when work performed is different and differing levels of experience.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.722 – Misrepresentation of Employment Relationship: Employers are prohibited from misrepresenting their relationship with an employee. If an employer knows or has reason to the employee misrepresented the relationship, the employer has an obligation to notify the party to whom the misrepresentation was made about the true nature of the relationship.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.79 – Wages Deductions for Faulty Workmanship, Loss, Theft, or Damage: Unless the employee is an independent contractor, an employer cannot deduct from an employee’s wages for faulty workmanship, loss, theft, or damage. The exception to this rule is if the employee voluntarily authorizes it in writing after the incident occurs.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.82: Benefits Based on Job Performance: An employer cannot terminate or threaten to terminate an employee’s benefits based on job performance. However, if the employer has first given the employee an opportunity to make the same contribution the employer would have been making to continue coverage, then the benefits can be terminated.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.92 – Leave for Adoptive Parents: Adoptive parents are entitled to the same leave as parents having natural children. There is a statutory minimum of 4 weeks. However, so long as the leave is equal in length, employers can have a policy that allows for a shorter or longer period of maternity/paternity leave.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.93 – Notice to Employees and Applicants of Bankruptcy: An employer must notify all employees and applicants in writing of any pending bankruptcy action or has had an involuntary bankruptcy petition filed against it.
- Minn. Stat. §§ 181.931; 932; 933; 934; 935; 937 – Notice of Termination: If an employee has been involuntarily terminated, they have right to request a reason for the termination within 15 of days of the date of termination. The employer will have ten days to respond in writing once a reasonable request has been made.
- Minn. Stat, § 181.939 – Nursing Mothers: An employer must provide unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a private room within close proximity to the workstation, not in the bathroom, with an electric outlet where the employee can express the milk in privacy.
- Minn. Stat. §§ 181.940; 941; 9412; 9413; 9414; 942; 943; 9435; 9436; 944 – Parenting Leave and Accommodations: Employers must provide employees time off for maternity and paternity leave. Maternity and paternity leave do not have to be paid. In addition, employers must allow an employee up to 16 hours of leave per year for school events and conferences. The sixteen hours of leave does not need to be paid. Employers must also allow an employee to use sick leave to provide care for their child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent (including in-laws and step parents), grandchild, or grandparent for reasonable periods of time if the employee’s attendance is necessary. Employers must allow the use of sick leave for safety leave. Safety leave includes instances of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. Safety leave must be for a reasonable period of time. The sick leave and safety leave is not required to be paid leave.
- Minn. Stat. §§ 181.950; 951; 952; 953; 954; 955; 956; 957 – Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace: In order to perform drug and alcohol testing on employees and applicants, the employer must have a written drug and alcohol policy. An employer can only drug test a job applicant after an offer of employment has been made. Employers with a written policy can require employees undergo a routine physical, which includes a drug and alcohol test, once annually. Employers can only impose random drug and alcohol testing if the employees work in safety-sensitive positions or if they are professional athletes subject to a collective bargaining agreement. If the employer has a reasonable suspicion the employee is under the influence or has violated the employers written work rules prohibiting the possession, sale, or transfer of drugs while working, them the employer request the employee to undergo drug and alcohol testing.
- Minn. Stat, §§ 181.960; 961; 962; 963; 9631; 964; 9641; 965; 966; 967 – Personnel Record Review and Access: Within in seven days of a written request, an employer shall provide an employee with an opportunity to review their personnel record. If there is a dispute in the record, the employer and employee may agree to remove or revise disputed information. If an agreement is not reached, the employee may submit a written statement, not to exceed five pages, identifying the disputed information and explaining their position. The information found in the file cannot be used by the employee in a defamation, libel, or slander action; unless the employee requests and the employer fails to comply with the rules of the statute.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.970 – Employee Indemnification: An employer must indemnify an employee who us acting within the scope of their employment.