John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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Minneapolis Wrongful Termination Law Blog

Workers do not have to put up with disability discrimination

Many workers in Minnesota with disabilities are still able to perform a wide variety of jobs. They should not be discriminated against, be denied work opportunities or denied work altogether, just because they have a disability. Unfortunately, instances of discrimination occur on an all too frequent basis.

Employers might fire a worker because the worker needs to seek treatment for his or her disability. Employers may refuse to provide a disabled worker with a reasonable accommodation. Employers may not recognize that some disabilities are mental, not physical. These, and other acts of discrimination, are illegal, but that doesn't stop them from happening.

What is the minimum wage in Minnesota?

Minnesota residents are hard workers, and because of that, they deserve an appropriate amount of pay. It is for this reason that Minnesota has set a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The Minnesota minimum wage amount differs based on several conditions.

If a person works for a large employer, the minimum wage in Minnesota is $9.50 per hour. A large employer is an enterprise with a yearly gross dollar volume of sales made or business done amounting to at least $500,000. If a person works for a small employer, the minimum wage in Minnesota is $7.75. A small employer is an enterprise with a yearly gross dollar volume of sales made or business done amounting to under $500,000. For workers under 18-years-old who are not covered by the federal minimum wage law, the minimum wage in Minnesota is $7.75, as it is for those with a J-1 visa.

Your rights at work: 4 facts about Muslim prayer

Taking breaks at work can be challenging, especially when you work in a production line environment. So what do you do if you are Muslim and need to observe the five daily prayers while on the job? Recent news has highlighted instances where Muslim employees faced tensions from their employer when trying to fit prayer into their work day, feared discrimination or even left a job that would not accommodate their prayer times. Here are rights you have under federal law, specifically Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

What are a Minnesota worker's rights regarding drug tests?

Some workplaces in Minnesota require workers to undergo drug or alcohol testing under certain circumstances, so long as the worker received certain legally mandatory information about the employer's drug and alcohol testing policy. That being said, workers have rights with regards to drug and alcohol testing that they should be aware of.

Under Minnesota statute section 181.953, a worker who tests positive for drugs in an initial screening cannot be fired, disciplined, discriminated against or be required to undergo rehabilitation. An initial test must be verified by a confirmatory test. However, the worker may be suspended temporarily or transferred to another position that pays the same pending the results of the confirmatory test. However, the worker has the right to provide information regarding any prescription or over-the-counter medications he or she has taken that could affect the test results.

Is pre-employment age discrimination prohibited?

Many older Minnesota workers may find themselves in the position of having to find a new job. Perhaps they were the victim of a layoff due to no fault of their own, or perhaps it was just time for a change in their career. Minnesota residents may already know that under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), workers who are 40 or older are protected from employment discrimination due to their age. However, age discrimination is not limited to just workers currently employed in the workplace. There are other circumstances, such as pre-employment, in which the ADEA applies.

First of all, in general, the ADEA applies to apprenticeship programs. Employers providing an apprenticeship program cannot engage in discriminatory acts based on an individual's age. This includes joint labor-management programs. That being said, the ADEA does provide for some very limited circumstances in which an apprenticeship program can have a valid age limitation.

Understanding reasonable accommodations and undue hardship

As discussed on this blog before, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers cannot discriminate against disabled workers in Minneapolis or anywhere else. It also requires employers to provide disabled workers with reasonable accommodations, either in the physical workplace or in the occupation itself, so that the worker can perform his or her job despite his or her disability. Some examples of reasonable accommodations are installing wheelchair ramps, providing a worker with a different desk or modifying the worker's work schedule.

However, there is an exception to the reasonable accommodation requirement. If providing a reasonable accommodation would cause the employer to suffer an undue hardship, then the employer need not provide the reasonable accommodation. An undue hardship, according to the ADA, is hardship that proves significantly difficult or expensive. There are a number of factors to consider when determining whether or not providing a reasonable accommodation would be an undue hardship.

Are there laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination?

Last week, this blog discussed the story of a Minnesota man who won a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit. His win was significant in part because of the large payout he received. His case gives hope to others who may feel they are being discriminated against at work due to their sexual orientation. However, let's take a step back and explore what sexual orientation discrimination is in the context of employment discrimination.

Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace involves being harassed or otherwise treated differently at work based on the individual's orientation as gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. It can also occur to heterosexual individuals or even based on someone's perception of another's sexual orientation.

Minnesota man fired due to sexual orientation wins lawsuit

A Minnesota worker who was fired from his job in his family's banking business has been awarded $3.5 million after filing a lawsuit for sexual orientation discrimination. It may be one of the largest payouts to one individual in state history for a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit.

Minnesota whistleblowers have rights that deserve protection

Most employees in Minnesota are hard workers who believe in integrity, fairness and doing the right thing. Moreover, they may also hold their employers to the same standards, expecting that their employers will not break the law. Unfortunately, employers are not always so upstanding. Some employers break the law.

The basics of disability discrimination in Minnesota

Every person has a right to be treated fairly in the workplace. This rule is no different for workers with disabilities.

Unfortunately, disabled people often face discrimination at work. In some cases, this is because of their employer's ignorance or misunderstanding, while in others it is based in actual prejudice.

Regardless of the cause, disability discrimination is never acceptable. It can be helpful to take some time to learn your rights under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, so that you can assert them if the time comes.

Defending the Civil Rights of Vulnerable People

When employers discriminate or allow harassment and retaliation to take place or continue, we are dedicated to holding them accountable for their unlawful actions.

John A. Klassen, PA
Attorneys at Law
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