John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
612-217-4988 877-390-4527

Minneapolis Wrongful Termination Law Blog

What is sexual harassment according to the EEOC?

If people are careful, the term "sexual harassment" isn't thrown around lightly in the workplace. After all, accusing a co-worker or manager of sexual harassment could result in disciplinary action, or even termination of employment. But, the fact is that sexual harassment, unfortunately, still occurs in workplaces throughout the country, and in Minnesota. When an employee brings a claim of sexual harassment in the workplace, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is likely to get involved at some point. So, what is sexual harassment, according to the EEOC?

The reality is that even the EEOC can't put a strict definition on what exactly constitutes sexual harassment. However, the agency does provide some examples: unwanted sexual advances; offensive sexual comments; and unwanted physical sexual contact. But, the EEOC provides an important caveat: these types of incidents may not rise to the level of sexual harassment if they are a one-time thing. The EEOC says that the harassment at issue can rise to the level of being illegal sexual harassment if the conduct is frequent or severe, and it results in a hostile work environment.

Teacher files lawsuit alleging race discrimination

Discrimination is still a major problem in American society. Some Minnesota residents believe they experience discrimination because of their religion. For others, it is their disability. But, for millions of people in this country, race discrimination is their biggest concern. When this type of discrimination occurs in the workplace, employee rights come into play.

According to a recent report, a teacher in Minnesota has alleged that he was the victim of race discrimination by his former employer, Saint Paul Public Schools. The teacher has filed a lawsuit based on the allegations, which he believes stem from his critical opinion of a policy in the school system to "discipline black students less severely than white students."

Complying with the requirement of "reasonable accommodation"

Most employers in Minnesota do their best to stay in compliance with all state and federal employment laws. But, there are some employers who don't meet this burden. Instead, they may engage in some type of employment discrimination. Disability discrimination is one example. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled employees. Of course, that term is a bit subjective. What exactly is a "reasonable accommodation" for a worker in Minnesota who has a disability?

Well, employers aren't required to do anything and everything to accommodate an employee who has a disability, but they are required to take certain steps that would make it possible for the employee to do their job with the employer. For instance, an employer may need to make part of the work facility easier to access for the disabled employee. Or, the employer might need to make slight alterations to work schedules to make it possible for the employee to make it to work on time.

Before you blow the whistle on an employer, build a strong team

Wherever there is opportunity for profit, there is also opportunity for fraud, in both the private and public sector. If you recently learned of dishonest practices in your employer's dealings as a government contractor, then you have a duty to come forward with this information.

However, this is much easier said than done. If you're reading this, then you are probably already looking for the safest way to become a whistleblower against your employer. The reality of your circumstances is that doing so could greatly affect your career, so it is absolutely vital that you tread carefully and receive experienced, professional guidance every step of there way.

Fighting workplace retaliation that leads to wrongful termination

No one enjoys tension in their workplace. For the most part, Minnesota residents want to enjoy what they do for a living, earn a decent income and go home happy to their families. Unfortunately, there are some employees in Minnesota who don't have this type of ideal situation. Instead, they may be subject to various forms of retaliation in the workplace, which can make life miserable.

Employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who report unlawful conduct, such as OSHA violations or sexual harassment issues. But, the reality is that some employers will engage in retaliation in the form of demotions, negative evaluations and even wrongful termination. An employee who faces these types of issues may think that they don't have any options, and instead they think that they have to trudge forward with a "blackmark" on their personnel file. That isn't the case.

What can employees in Minnesota do about unsafe work conditions?

Employers in Minnesota are obligated to provide employees with a safe working environment. This obligation includes providing safe facilities, appropriate training and having a system in place to address safety concerns as they arise. Unfortunately, some employees in Minnesota may be working in an environment that ignores these obligations. So, what can employees do about unsafe work conditions at their place of employment?

For starters, serious concerns about workplace safety issues might be best addressed by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, commonly referred to as "OSHA." This federal agency exists so that health and safety concerns in the workplace can be inspected, investigated and sanctioned accordingly. Employers have an incentive to do their best to avoid OSHA violations, because such violations can result in significant fines, as well as bad publicity when the violations are reported.

Protecting a wide range of employee rights in Minnesota

Employee rights have come a long way in the United States. Most employees are protected from a wide range of discriminatory conduct, are allowed time off when health emergencies strike and receive overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. The laws that are in place to ensure that workers in Minnesota receive these employee rights have been implemented over the course of decades.

That's why it is so important to make sure that any infringement upon these rights by employers is accounted for. For the most part, employers in Minnesota do their best to comply with state and federal employment law. But, there will always be some employers who will try to skirt the laws as much as possible in order to keep their leverage over employees and maximize profits.

Culture of sexual harassment at Fox News further reported on

By now many of our readers have probably seen the reports - many in national news columns - about the ongoing issues surrounding former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly has been at the center of a sexual harassment firestorm at the cable news network, one that recently resulted in his departure from Fox News.

Although O'Reilly has been connected to a number of past legal cases filed by other Fox News employees over that last several years, it does not appear that he is currently the subject of any legal filings. However, the fact that several reports have indicated that Fox News has settled five different sexual harassment-based claims that apparently stemmed from O'Reilly's behavior seems to have been enough to force Fox News to finally face the facts about sexual harassment in their workplace.

Battling the many forms of disability discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace occurs for many different reasons, as our readers who are familiar with previous posts here know. The good news is that many forms of discrimination are against the law, which means that Minnesota residents who have been subjected to employment discrimination may have legal recourse under various state and federal laws. When it comes to disability discrimination, workers in Minnesota are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or "ADA."

Unfortunately, disability discrimination can come in many forms. For instance, sometimes a person who has a disability needs to take time off from work to address the issue with medical treatment. If an employer does not allow an employee to take this time off, or if the employer retaliates against the employee for taking that time off of work, it may be shown to be employment discrimination.

Appellate court ruling provides shake-up to employment law

There aren't many people who pay close attention to court rulings, but many of our readers probably saw the news about a holding in a case in the Seventh Circuit federal court of appeals that could affect those who have concerns about employment discrimination. The holding was the first of its kind in all American courts, and could lead to a review by the Supreme Court of the United States.

In the ruling, the appellate court held that, under federal law, "sex discrimination" encompasses not only discrimination based on a person's gender, but also a person's sexual orientation. This could have a significant impact on employee rights in America because, prior to this ruling, there was no federal law that specifically held that sexual orientation could be a basis for employment discrimination. Some states, however, have taken the step to enact legislation that protects workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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
310 4th Avenue South     
Suite 5010      
Minneapolis, MN 55415     
Phone: 612-217-4988
Toll Free: 877-390-4527
Fax: 612-204-4534
Map and Directions