We often write about the more common protections for employees in Minnesota, such as protections against discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation for reporting law violations (i.e. whistle blowers), and protections for employees who take medical leave. But, did you know that Minnesota also provides lesser-known protections to employees? For example, Minnesota law allows employees to take up to 16 hours of time off work to attend their child’s school conferences and activities each year and for each child.
Looking for legal information and resources? If so, take a moment to check out Halunen Law’s Employment blog for articles related to wrongful termination.
You’ve just been fired, or you suspect you’re about to be fired. And you think that your termination may be for an illegal reason (e.g., discrimination, retaliation, blowing the whistle). Now what?
1. Do Not Quit / Do Not Sign Anything. Most workers who suspect termination is imminent often believe it is better to quit than be fired. But depending on the circumstances, that might not be true. Voluntarily leaving your position before your employer takes any adverse employment action against you (e.g., a termination), could weaken your ability to make an employment claim. Often it is wiser to continue to do your job well, which means that your employer will have to terminate you to make you leave. However, there could be extenuating circumstances that would warrant a different decision. If you are tempted to quit your job, it would be wise to contact an employment attorney before quitting to discuss your particular situation and your options.
At your termination meeting, your employer may present you with a document called a separation or severance agreement, potentially with an offer of some amount of money. Again, the wise thing to do is to consult with an attorney before signing anything. If you signed this document already and are having second thoughts, you should immediately contact an employment attorney to review the agreement on your behalf. If you act quickly enough, you may be able to rescind your agreement.
Although Minnesota is an “employment at-will” state—meaning the employer may terminate an employee at any time for any reason—there are, in fact, exceptions to the rule. Since 1967 the Minnesota Human Rights Act has served as the State’s comprehensive employment rights law and provides a wide range of protections for employees. Yet even with the law in place, employers continue to violate employees’ rights in countless ways. Here are 20 of the most common violations for which an employee may seek monetary relief under the Minnesota Human Rights Act:
Sexual harassment or sexual assault can be actionable if it occurs on business travel or at work-related events. In fact, over half of the sexual assault cases we have handled involved assaults that occurred outside of the office and outside of work hours. If the harassment or assault can be shown to be related to the employment relationship and the incident is sufficiently severe or repetitive, you may have an actionable claim against your employer.
Minnesota law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment “includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when . . . that conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s employment . . . or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment . . . environment.” Minn. Stat. § 363A.03, subd. 43(2).
We hear all too often from clients…
“I just got laid off, and my employer wants me to sign a severance agreement. They gave me a big chart with a list of people’s positions and ages on it. I’m confused, and I’m not sure what to do next.”
If you are an older worker (defined as age 40 or older), stop right there! You likely have a lot of questions in your head right now. We’re here to help you find some answers.
The #MeToo movement has shined light on sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace and work-related events. However, there is still a value in increasing knowledge, training, and education when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace.
In light of this, it’s vital that employees take the time to understand what sexual harassment and sexual assault are in the workplace, and how certain employment situations may make them more vulnerable than others. As an employee, it is important to know that such misconduct can happen to anyone, and if it happens to you, you are not alone – we are here to help.
As an employment law attorney, I am often asked, “Can I record a conversation with my employer without saying that I am recording it?” The answer depends on whether the state you are recording in requires a one-party or two-party consent and whether your employer has a company policy that prohibits employees from recording conversations.
During my career as an employment law attorney, I have had the unique privilege of representing many employees who have been sexually assaulted during the course of their employment by a co-worker or supervisor. It makes my heart heavy to know there are so many people out there who have gone through such an experience.
A new case decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court provides additional support to employees with disabilities—it clarifies that employers cannot terminate disabled employees who request an accommodation without a “thorough communication” and “documented good faith efforts” to see if the accommodation would actually pose an undue hardship.
Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified workers with disabilities to allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. But what do these terms mean?
What rights does an employee have when jury duty calls?
This is a common question many Minnesotan employees have as they followed the media’s coverage of the high-profile case of Mohamed Noor, a police officer on trial for shooting Justine Ruszczyk (Damond) after she reported a crime being committed near her home. The trial started with jury selection on April 1, 2019 and lasted nearly a month. On April 30, 2019, the jury returned after 11 hours of deliberation and convicted Mohamed Noor of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
During the initial jury selection phase of the trial, many media outlets reported the court dismissing numerous jurors for various reasons, such as bias, but also because of financial hardship. For example, the court excused several potential jurors because they could not find/afford childcare or could not afford to miss a paycheck (let alone a month of work).
Phone: (312) 222-0660
Fax: (612) 605-4099
Phone: (602) 535-2203
Fax: (612) 605-4099