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Minneapolis Employment Law Blog

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Top Rated Lawyers | 2012 Labor and Employment

MN woman sues Norwegian government over gender discrimination

There are times when a single legal action brought by one person can stand for something much larger. Indeed, government agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission often choose to take on individual employment discrimination cases when those cases are seen as representative of a more systemic issue or pattern of discrimination.

It is rare when an employment discrimination plaintiff can file suit against an entire nation and even rarer when it is a foreign nation. But just such a lawsuit recently went to trial in Minneapolis. A Minnesota woman, who formerly worked for the Norwegian consulate in Minneapolis, alleges that the Norwegian government engaged in gender discrimination by paying her substantially less than a male colleague who held a similar job.

Age discrimination reported during recession

Do older employees face discrimination in the workplace? A new study says yes. The study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that older workers in the United States were discriminated against in the workplace as well as during interviews even though there are laws designed to prevent age discrimination

The researchers said that older workers may have been discriminated against during the recession because of their age. Companies that laid off workers may have hidden their discrimination against older workers during the recession because they were laying off so many workers. 

Are women really doing better in the workplace? New book says: No

Because of 24-hour cable news and constant access to the internet, each of us may encounter the same news story half-a-dozen times each day. We are bombarded by news and analysis of the news. We sometimes even receive analysis of the analysis.

Repetition allows for the easy creation of a media narrative on a given story. But being repetitive isn’t the same as being correct. A new book written by two female authors challenges the media narrative proclaiming the rise of women in the workplace and the end of gender discrimination. Unfortunately, their research concludes, gender discrimination is still very much a problem.

Chef was fired despite being on approved FMLA leave, lawsuit says

Most Americans work very hard at their jobs. Whether or not we always give work the appropriate place on our list of priorities is a matter of debate. But if we were forced to choose between being there for a dying family member and going to work, nearly every one of us would choose the former.

Thankfully, many Americans don’t have to make this choice. The Family and Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid, job-protected leave to qualifying employees. Unfortunately, as a recent wrongful termination case demonstrates, bosses do not always respect the law.

Restaurant settles EEOC lawsuit over gender-based pay disparity

Our post earlier this week focused on the problem of gender-based pay disparity. The wage gap is one of many gender discrimination issues facing women in the workplace here in Minnesota and around the country.

The cause has recently been championed by President Obama and other national leaders. Pay equity also continues to be an important priority of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Earlier this month, the EEOC announced that it has reached a settlement with a burger restaurant that routinely paid female employees less money than their male counterparts for equal or substantially similar work.

Gender-based pay disparity and how it's being addressed

The issues of pay and pay equity are receiving significant attention both locally and nationally. Locally, Minnesota lawmakers are currently working to raise the state’s minimum wage. And in recent weeks, President Obama has also been speaking in support of a higher minimum wage and for pay equity between male and female workers.

Pay disparity seems to be one of the most ingrained forms of gender discrimination in the United States. On average, women doing the same work as men earn only about 77 cents on the dollar.

Young workers & the threat of sexual harassment: Part II

In our last post we began a discussion about the problem of sexual harassment against young workers. Many high school and college students in Minnesota work part-time and summer jobs, yet not all of these young workers are aware of their employment rights and protections.

The problem of sexual harassment may be especially prevalent and under-reported among workers ages 15 to 22 years old. Moreover, workers who experience sexual harassment at a young age are likely to suffer long-term problems with their school performance, their career aspirations and their psychological wellbeing.

Young workers & the threat of sexual harassment: Part I

Summer is fast approaching. And for many high school and college students in Minnesota, finding a summer job is a high priority. Others who already have jobs may try to work more hours once school lets out.

Gainful employment can give young workers more than just money. A job can impart values such as punctuality, responsibility and time management. Sadly, young workers in their teens and early 20s are also particularly vulnerable to the darker side of the working world: Sexual harassment. And if they are sexually harassed, young workers may be less likely to report the behavior but more likely to be harmed by it long-term.

How you can battle (and maybe prevent) pregnancy discrimination

We have recently written a number of posts on the subject of pregnancy discrimination. It may be more subtle than it once was, but pregnancy discrimination remains a problem in Minnesota and around the country.

If you have been illegally fired, demoted or suffered other employment-related consequences as a result of being pregnant, you may be able to seek redress in court. Ideally, however, it is better to prevent pregnancy discrimination in the first place if and when this is possible. At the very least, you’ll want to make sure that you take certain steps to protect yourself and strengthen your case if your employer does discriminate.

Doing the math: How gender stereotypes impact hiring decisions

An important thing to remember about stereotypes and prejudicial ideas is that they are not always conscious. Each of us probably has some biases and unfounded assumptions that we don’t recognize as either biased or unfounded. Even if they are subconscious and therefore not intentionally malicious, these biases can still be damaging.

One common gender-based stereotype asserts that men are generally better at math than women are. It’s true that men are more likely to pursue careers in the STEM fields (science, technology engineering and math), but this could be, in part, because of this stereotype. A recent study suggests that assumptions about gender and math skills could be contributing to a pattern of workplace discrimination that keeps women out of math-related jobs.

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