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

Minneapolis Wrongful Termination Law Blog

What is undue hardship with disability discrimination?

Disabled people in Minnesota and across the United States who are seeking employment are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, employers are required to give employees and prospective employees the same courtesies and opportunities accorded to people who are not disabled. However, there can be disagreements in how the ADA is interpreted and people who believe they have been discriminated against because they are disabled should be aware of how the law addresses these issues. One consideration that must be factored in is whether the needs of the employee fall into the category of undue hardship.

With undue hardship, the employer can claim that the action needed will result in significant problems or costs when considered in the context of the size of the business, its financial ability to cover the modifications, and the business itself. When there is a claim of disability discrimination, it is key to remember that the employer does not need to reduce the quality of its product or lower the standards for production so the accommodation can be made.

Rare defamation suit filed after Minnesota nurse's firing

All employees are afforded certain rights. This means that when an employee believes that these rights are not upheld, action could be taken to seek legal recourses for these violations. Whether it is a state or federal regulation violation, employees should be aware of their rights following any type of event or incident in the workplace.

According to recent reports, a Minnesota nurse who lost her job after being accused of stealing drugs from her place of work has sued both her former employer and two of her former colleagues. The woman was charged with multiple felonies after colleagues identified her as a person on video who was trying to take painkillers from the facility. A few months after they were filed, the prosecutor dismissed the charges, saying that the woman had presented credible evidence of an alibi.

Religious discrimination is banned under federal law

Federal law prohibits employers in Minnesota and states throughout the country from discriminating against employees on the basis of the employee's religion. As with other protected classes, an employer may not refuse to consider or hire a job candidate because of his or her religion, nor may an employer fire, discipline, refuse to promote or take other adverse actions against an employee because of his religious beliefs.

Likewise, an employer must ensure that all employees are free of a work environment that is hostile to the employee's religious beliefs. While an employer is not expected to prevent all inappropriate comments or other negative incidents related to an employee's beliefs and practices, the employer must take reasonable steps to curtail such harassment and to stop it if it occurs.

Age discrimination could be present in popular phrase

In Minnesota workplaces, there can be a fine line between relatively harmless joking and offensiveness. People can frequently have that line blurred and inadvertently or intentionally commit acts of workplace discrimination. With the increase in social media use and the accompanying attempts at humor, it can easily cross over from chuckle-inducing to insulting. People who believe certain designations and comments fall into the category of discriminatory, and have it negatively affect their ability to do their jobs or cause them to lose the job entirely have the right to seek compensation in an employment lawsuit.

People of a certain age classified as Generation Z -- generally born in the mid-1990s -- have taken to using the term, "OK Boomer" as a joking insult to "Baby Boomers." Baby boomers are people who have reached the age range of 55 to 73. Those in that age range are shielded by age discrimination laws.

Woman files lawsuit after incident at work-related conference

A woman who works for an employer in a state that borders Minnesota has filed suit claiming a former colleague grabbed her breasts and then commented about her chest to two other men, neither of whom were employees of the company. This incident happened at a bar in Minnesota after a day in which the woman and her co-workers had attended a business conference and then gone to dinner. The woman said that her colleague's actions took her by complete surprise.

When she reported the incident internally the following day, the company's ombudsman indicated that the company would not try to contact the two men who witnessed the incident since they were not company employees. The man who allegedly engaged in this action was ordered to return home from the conference early.

What medical employees should know about the False Claims Act

Working in the healthcare industry means assuming a position of trust with both the public and the businesses that you interact with in a professional capacity. Whether you are a physician's assistant, a nurse, a medical billing specialist or a receptionist, the people you interact with trust you in part because of your involvement in the medical field.

Unfortunately, not everyone working in medicine pursues the career out of a sense of duty to the greater good of society or people. Some people get into medicine because they want to make a lot of money, and for those people, even the amount of money a physician makes may not seem like enough.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, Minnesota residents who have a legal disability under federal or state law have certain rights in the workplace. Among these rights are the right not to be harassed at work due to their disability. Likewise, an employer may not fire, refuse to hire, or take other adverse action against an employee because of her disability. Finally, an employer has an obligation to provide what the law calls a reasonable accommodation to someone who has a condition that is a disability.

This does not mean that an employer must make all jobs available to all people. After all, there are some jobs that an employer may need performed which those with certain disabilities would not be able to do safely. For instance, a trucking company looking for drivers would not be expected to employ a person who is legally blind and thus unable to obtain a driver's license. On the other hand, when all an employer needs to do is change the work environment somewhat so that a person with a disabled person can succeed, an employer will normally be expected to make that accommodation.

Attention to sexual harassment has not resulted in improvements

Minnesotans and people throughout the United States are undoubtedly aware of the "#MeToo" movement, complete with its social media hashtag and connotations of people from across the workplace spectrum being a victim of sexual harassment. While people sharing their stories of workplace mistreatment can be beneficial as a form of kinship and encouraging victims to come forward and seek justice, it is important to know whether the attention has yielded improvements.

Those who are thinking that the campaign will stop harassment are increasingly mistaken. According to a recent survey, 61 percent of females who took part stated they were still facing sexual harassment as often as before, "#MeToo." Some even said it had grown worse. Women reported sexual harassment to human resources rose to 51 percent in 2019. It was 43 percent in 2018.

Should I sign the severance agreement my boss gave me?

In most cases, one of the last things a Minnesota worker wants to see is a severance agreement. Usually, an employer will hand one of these contracts to their employee as she is, at least figuratively, being shown to the door of her workplace after a firing or a layoff. Amid the stress and fear associated with being without a reliable income, it may be tempting for a Minneapolis resident to sign a severance agreement on the spot, especially if the agreement involves a few extra weeks or even months of compensation.

Signing a severance agreement is not always a bad move. Particularly when the firing is based on solid legal grounds, a severance package can save the employer the cost of disposing of meritless litigation and provide an employee some financial cushion while he looks for a new job.

Former Minnesota running coach files lawsuits

A former Minnesota running coach who says the University of Minnesota-Duluth forced her into resignation has now filed a wrongful termination case against the University's official leadership. In addition to wrongful termination, the coach also raised several other allegations based on sex and gender discrimination, including allegations of unequal pay and a hostile work environment.

The woman had coached both cross country and track and field at the school for about a decade. At the time of her resignation, she had been placed on leave. She claims that her resignation was at the behest of the University's leadership, who indicated that they would initiate a publicized, and potentially embarrassing, disciplinary process if she refused to do so.

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