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:
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.
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.
In a recent case in the Minneapolis school district, an employee was let go from her position. The employee complained to the school system’s equal opportunity division regarding what happened, and she alleged that workplace discrimination, harassment, and a number of financial improprieties were going on within the school system that led to her firing.
The employee was reportedly told that the school system’s division would investigate the matter and thus preserve her rights concerning this complaint. Because of this alleged promise, the employee then waited 300 days before filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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?
Recently the U.S. Supreme Court struck another blow against consumers and employees in the case of Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela. Yet again the Court reasoned backward from the result it wanted to reach and went out of its way to find in favor of a corporate defendant – at the expense of individual citizens – by reading into a contract language that did not exist.
Employee misclassification has become a huge problem in the United States. Employers who want to increase profits by not paying withholding and other taxes and escaping liability for workers’ compensation and unemployment claims will often claim that their workers are ‘independent contractors’ or ‘consultants’ (ICs), even though these people perform jobs that go to the heart of the employer’s business. As an example, it has become almost automatic for operators of trucking, courier, and delivery services to use only independent contractor drivers. Why? The answer is simple- they save hundreds, maybe millions, of dollars each year by stiffing workers of benefits like 401(k) matches, insurance coverage, overtime, etc. For many years now companies have largely gotten away with this intentional misclassification by requiring workers to sign agreements with arbitration clauses and class action waivers. When workers challenged misclassification they were required to do it individually, rather than as part of a larger group of workers, and had to submit their claim to an arbitrator rather than a judge (arbitrators often coming from the ranks of lawyers that defend corporations). As a result, it became almost impossible to succeed in these types of cases. However, the tide has finally turned.
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