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Minneapolis Employment Law Blog

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Top Rated Lawyers | 2013 Labor and Employment

Top Rated Lawyers | 2012 Labor and Employment

Minnesota company settles EEOC lawsuit over gender discrimination

We have previously written about the Women’s Economic Security Act, passed earlier this year by Minnesota legislators and signed into law by Gov. Dayton. The legislation seeks to address issues of gender discrimination in the workplace, including the gender-based wage gap.

Some critics of the WESA have argued that the law is simply not needed. Minnesota’s job and labor markets are friendly to women and discrimination is not really an issue, they say. However, a recent lawsuit settled with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suggests otherwise.

EEOC alleges further violations after company settled lawsuit

Despite what the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rulings have suggested, corporations are not people. Corporations are run by people, however, which means that they tend to reflect the values and beliefs of their owners. Unfortunately, this is not always a good thing.

Some business owners, for example, care little for rules of fairness and do not learn from their mistakes. That’s one reason why the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is pursuing further legal action against a Midwest grocery store chain after it settled a disability discrimination lawsuit with the company in 2011.

Settlement reached in LinkedIn wage and hour lawsuit

It is generally believed that Americans have an unhealthy relationship with work. Many European countries have policies that offer generous amounts of paid vacation time and workers are not shy about using it. In the United States, workers with access to paid vacation often choose not to take it for fear of falling behind in the "rat race."

The same often goes for wages and pay. Those of us who work as non-exempt employees (paid hourly) try not to rock the boat when it comes to things like overtime pay and working off the clock. The fear is that employees who cost the company too much money will be demoted or fired. In other cases, some workers may not know that they're entitled to receive overtime pay and other benefits.

Employers get creative to hide retaliation against whistleblowers

One of the biggest stories in the news this year has been the scandal involving healthcare offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Specifically, allegations have surfaced that VA hospitals in some states concealed how long veterans had to wait in order to receive care by keeping secret waiting lists that were different than the official records. A significant number of veterans have died while waiting to be treated.

Thankfully Minnesota’s VA hospitals do not seem to be suffering from the same problems as those in other states. But in hospitals that have been targeted, veterans are not the only ones getting less than they deserve. Indeed, some of the initial whistleblower employees who brought attention to VA hospital problems have suffered retaliation as a result of their decision to do the right thing.

Determining liability for labor law violations by franchises

When it comes to liability in employment law disputes, there is often some ambiguity because businesses are often directly or indirectly owned or controlled by larger companies. One of the best examples is McDonald’s, which has a franchise business model.

Most McDonald’s locations are owned by individual franchisees but must abide by many policies and practices set by McDonald’s Corporation. Critics say that in the modern economy, the franchisee model allows corporations to exert downward control while blocking upward liability. In an important employment law announcement issued by the Office of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, McDonald’s may no longer enjoy this liability protection.

Postpartum depression and your rights in the workplace: Part II

Earlier this week, we began a discussion about postpartum depression. The condition or some of its symptoms affect as many as 10 percent of new parents, including fathers. If you are a woman struggling with PPD while trying to return to work, you may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When it comes to certain pregnancy-related conditions, the ADA overlaps with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to protect women as they struggle through what can be a very difficult experience. In today’s post, we’ll discuss things you can do to protect yourself at work if you are suffering from postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression and your rights in the workplace: Part I

We have previously written about the challenges women face as they try to start a family while maintaining momentum in their career. Compared to other nations with similar economic prosperity, America’s policies and laws governing family leave are anything but progressive. Paid family/maternity leave is quite rare, and even unpaid leave often makes women worry about losing their jobs or being demoted.

Making things worse is the fact that laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination are not uniformly interpreted or enforced. Problems are most likely to occur when pregnancy discrimination laws overlap with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the ADA, employers may not discriminate against a female employee for certain disabilities related to pregnancy. Included in the list of protected pregnancy-related disabilities is postpartum depression.

Protecting against harassment in 'party atmosphere' workplaces

Because the term “workplace” encompasses a wide range of business environments, it is safe to assume that not all workplaces have the same codes of conduct for employees or customers. A sports bar, for instance, will likely have a different atmosphere than an office building.

But even in an environment where a party atmosphere is part of what is offered to customers, this is not an excuse to condone or perpetrate harassment. The “party atmosphere” defense is generally not effective when employees sue for sexual harassment and/or gender discrimination.

Minnesota lawsuit demonstrates complexity of employment-law cases

If you’ve never been involved in a legal dispute, you may be surprised at how long certain cases can take. In matters of employment law especially, lawsuits often include allegations of several illegal actions including sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. When several individuals and entities are named as defendants, the case becomes even more complex.

A good example is a sexual harassment case that originated in Lake City, Minnesota, which is about 70 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. The lawsuit was first filed in 2012, thrown out by a judge and was only recently allowed to proceed upon appeal. The Minnesota Court of Appeals, however, ruled that of the several allegations originally made by the plaintiff, only the sexual harassment allegations can proceed to trial.

Was St. Paul PD's sexual harassment settlement offer fair?

It is always concerning to hear about cases of workplace misconduct involving elected officials and public servants, including politicians and police officers. Not only are these individuals supposed to maintain a role-model standard of conduct, they are also paid with taxpayer money. When an employment law case is litigated or settled, this money presumably comes at taxpayer expense.

Many Minnesotans have been following the sexual harassment case filed by a St. Paul police sergeant against a superior, department officials and the city. Recently, the lawsuit was settled for approximately $60,000.

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