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

Older workers face challenges when they look for employment

Although some individuals love the work that they do and enjoy putting in hours for their employers, many Minnesota residents work so that they can put food on their tables and care for the needs and wants of their families. Often workers set an age goal for when they can say goodbye to their careers and retire in order to spend more time with their loved ones and doing what they want to do. Today, however, many Americans of traditional retirement age are reentering the workforce and facing some challenges when it comes to finding work.

Older Americans make up the fastest growing labor population in the national workforce but often face discrimination when they look for jobs and submit applications. Employers are often wary of older workers who may bring significant work experiences to their new positions because work experience can serve as the grounds for an applicant seeking a higher than normal starting wage.

What is disability harassment?

Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by many different state and federal laws. Minnesota workers cannot be discriminated against in their jobs based on their age, gender, race, religious affiliation or a number of other protected classifications. When discrimination threatens the work of a person, they may have options under the law to protect their rights.

Disability discrimination is a major problem that can affect men and women who may have to face medical or intellectual hurdles just to function in modern society. Disability discrimination can prevent a person from achieving promotions or from getting preferred work assignments. It can occur when individuals do not actually suffer from disabilities but are perceived to suffer from such conditions.

Exceptions exist to the applicability of the ADEA

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is a federal law that prohibits how employers may treat their workers who are at least 40 years of age. The ADEA only applies to employers who have at least 20 workers, which means that it may not protect older workers who work at small businesses or for entities with smaller work staffs. In Minnesota, older workers may also find that the ADEA's protections do not reach them when certain exceptions are present.

First, if there is a bona fide occupational qualification that prevents older workers from having certain jobs, then that qualification may stand as a bar from employing older workers in particular roles. Limiting the age of individuals who can hold certain rules must be necessary for the job to be done effectively or to protect the safety of individuals who do that type of work.

Should a worker get overtime under the FLSA?

Simply put, people work to make money. The Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA is a federal law that ensures that American workers are compensated for the tasks they perform at work. Workers can be compensated in different ways and may hold different work responsibilities that affect how they are classified under the law. Some workers are eligible to receive overtime, which is increased pay for hours worked beyond the individuals' standard work periods.

Minnesota residents may be eligible for overtime under the FLSA if they meet the requirements of a three-part test. First, they must be considered nonexempt. That qualification is generally met by having an annual income below the statutory threshold. Second, a worker must not be salaried. Being salaried generally means that they are guaranteed a minimum amount of money per pay period.

Quid pro quo harassment at work

A Minneapolis resident may go to the store with the expectation that they will have to pay for whatever goods they choose to purchase. Additionally, if they choose to enter into a contract with another party they may rightly expect that they will have to perform some form of work in order to be benefitted by the other party to the agreement. In life it is pretty common that a person will not get something for nothing, but there is one context where prepositioning actions based on others' acquiescence may be prohibited under the law.

It is illegal for employers to require their employees to submit to sexual advances in order to secure promotions and other work benefits. This form of sexual harassment is known as quid pro quo harassment and it is unfortunately prevalent in the American workplaces. It can take on many forms and be perpetuated by both male and female employers.

Get answers to your wrongful termination questions

It is not unusual for Minnesota residents to change jobs throughout their careers. In fact, some individuals may plan to go back to school later in life just so that they can enter a new field or pursue different employment paths. Though some individuals start their work lives with particular employers and stick with them until they retire, it is relatively normal for Americans to move from job to job as their needs and expectations change.

One thing that many workers find it hard to prepare for is the loss of their jobs. Layoffs and terminations can throw workers into economic peril if they were unprepared for such actions to be taken against them. Sometimes these unfortunate scenarios arise due to financial issues within companies. However, they sometimes come up when employers wish to get rid of employees that they do not want because of discriminatory intents.

Automatic refills billed to Medicaid are illegal in Minnesota

Prescription auto-refill programs are essential for many patients. It means they can have their prescriptions ready on time and be able to pick them up without delays each month.

There are issues related to fraud that can occur with auto-refill programs, though. The programs aren't popular among regulators because they create waste, stockpiling and end up costing the federal programs more money when they are charged for unnecessary or unneeded prescriptions.

The elements of a constructive dismissal claim

Wrongful terminations can be based on a number of factors, including but not limited to discrimination, retaliation, violations of employment contracts and others. All across Minnesota workers may be released from their jobs and may wonder if the grounds on which their terminations were based were valid or in violation of state and federal laws. When such situations arise, individuals in such difficult positions can seek the counsel of employment attorneys.

However, not every employer who wants to fire an employee for a wrongful reason will actually terminate them. In fact, some employers seek to make their undesired employees so uncomfortable at work that the employees choose to leave on their own volition. When an employer creates an intolerable work situation for an employee with the intent of driving them out or the knowledge of the terrible conditions, a constructive dismissal may occur if the employee leaves their job.

Is retaliation in the workplace always illegal?

Much has been said on this blog about standing up for what is right and raising a voice against any type of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. However, one common reason employees remain silent is because they are afraid of retaliation in the office. Given how common it is, they have cause to be anxious about it. Retaliation is the most common discrimination finding in cases in the federal sector. Retaliation can be devastating for the person being subjected to it, which is why it is important to know what employee rights one has.

As per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is illegal to punish job applicants and employees for asserting their rights to be free from discrimination in the workplace, which also includes harassment. When someone asserts his or her rights, this is known as a protected activity. However, not all forms of retaliation is illegal, which is why it's important for Minneapolis residents to understand the law surrounding it.

What laws protect whistleblowers?

As discussed previously on this post, employers have an obligation to ensure state and federal laws are being enforced in their workplace. Minneapolis employees rely on this premise when they come to work every day-the fact that their employers are adhering to all the relevant laws and creating a safe and discrimination free work environment. When this does not happen, perhaps the only way the relevant authorities will become aware of the situation is if someone will draw attention to it. Employees who report violations of the law in their workplace are known as whistleblowers and laws are in place to ensure they are protected once they take these actions.

Violations can happen in a number of instances, such as prohibited action against an employee reporting sexual harassment or unlawful business practices such as polluting against environment law. This is why whistleblower protection can also be found in a number of different state and federal laws. In addition to this, there are also some common-law claims available to employees.

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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