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

What rights do employees have?

Many previous posts here have delved into some fairly specific employment rights that employees in Minnesota and throughout the country enjoy, including the right to be free from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. But, it can be helpful to look at employee rights in basic terms, and include some of the other rights that employees enjoy. So, what are some of the basic employee rights?

The right to enjoy a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination may seem like common sense, but, as we have all seen in the national news recently, issues such as sexual harassment and gender discrimination still plague many workplaces. When it comes down to basics, the real issue is that employees deserve to be able to go to work each day without having to face insults, unwanted sexual advances and mistreatment from co-workers and supervisors.

Know when to pursue your rights after sexual harassment occurs

Being the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace can be embarrassing. Victims of this type of abuse and discrimination can feel guilt as well, or shame that they are not taking action when they believe they should. Many victims fear reprisals from the employer, or derision from their co-workers if the incidents become common knowledge in the workplace. Minnesota residents need to know their rights when it comes to sexual harassment claim, and they need to know how to pursue those claims after sexual harassment occurs.

We can all hope that the intense media coverage of sexual harassment in recent months will help put an end to this type of illegal behavior in the workplace. But, the sad reality is that some people only learn "the hard way." They do not think they will be caught in the act of sexual harassment, or they think that the victim will not be able to prove it.

Can you pursue legal action for pregnancy discrimination?

A pregnancy can be a difficult time in life for a woman. Despite all of the clichés about pregnancy, hormones and cravings, most woman actually enjoy being pregnant, knowing that they are going to be welcoming a new addition to the family within just a few months time. Unfortunately, not everyone is sensitive to the various issues that a pregnant woman can face. In the workplace, an employer may begin to treat a pregnant employee differently because of the pregnancy.

Any woman in Minnesota who finds themselves in this position might think, "Am I being discriminated against because of my pregnancy"? Well, the sad reality is that, in some cases, the answer to this question is "Yes." But, from there, what can you do about it?

Pursuing a wage claim in Minnesota

Many people take for granted that when they leave a job they will receive their final wages in the right amount, and on time. However, not all employers follow the law in respect to paying. When employers violate these laws, employee rights are at stake.

So, what are the employer obligations when it comes to paying out final wages? Well, if an employee is discharged by the employer - "fired" - the employee is entitled to receive any final wages that are due within 24 hours of demanding the pay. If an employee leaves the position of employment voluntarily, then the employer is legally obligated to pay the employee the final wages that are due on the next scheduled payday. However, the payday cannot be more than 20 days after the person's last day of employment.

Will reports of sexual harassment in the workplace increase?

Our readers in Minnesota have likely seen several of our recent posts here covering the sweep of sexual harassment claims that is occurring throughout the country. The wave of claims is engulfing celebrities, CEOs and politicians. It seems that the plague of sexual harassment in the workplace is finally being revealed at its fullest extent.

But, what will the future impact of the present wave of disclosure be? According to a recent report, in Minnesota the Department of Human Rights expects that in the new year, 2018, there will likely be an increase in the number of sexual harassment claims it receives. In fact, one member of the Department of Human Rights believes that the wave of sexual harassment cases throughout the country is a "watershed moment."

Facing age discrimination in the workplace

Minnesota residents and most people across the country probably realize that the times are changing fast. Technology seems to be advancing at an exponential rate, while the job skills of yesteryear are becoming less of a need for employers. For older employees in Minnesota, this could present quite a dilemma, especially if they are facing age discrimination in the workplace.

Many employers are in business for one purpose: maximum profit. If that means that the product or services that they are selling are a hot commodity, that's great. But, employers will also analyze their methods of production, and that can include which employees they want to employ, and how much they need to pay them. If a younger, similarly-skilled employee might be available, older employees who have been with the company for years might see their prospects for continued employment dwindle.

What are the basics of the Americans with Disabilities Act?

While quite a bit of attention has been paid to sex-based discrimination and harassment both in the news media and in previous posts on this blog, it is important for Minnesota residents to remember that there are many other forms of discrimination that occur in the workplace as well. Age, race, gender and religious discrimination are all still issues that employees and employers alike deal with on a seemingly routine basis. There are laws in place to protect workers from these types of scenarios. For disabled employees, they are protected from discrimination in the workplace by the Americans with Disabilities Act -- commonly known as the "ADA."

What are the basic protections of the ADA? Well, for starters, it is important to realize that the ADA was enacted into law in order to help disabled individuals have access to the job market, just like anyone else would. So, in order to achieve this goal, the ADA requires that employers who are in the hiring process cannot discriminate against a potential employee -- an applicant -- just because the person has an observable or documented physical or mental disability.

The "Me Too" movement and sexual harassment allegations

The wave of sexual harassment and assault news stories and allegations that have been sweeping through workplaces throughout the nation apparently has a name in the news media: the "Me Too" movement. Dozens of people's sexual harassment stories - mostly women - have been receiving heightened attention, resulting in the end of the professional careers of many of the alleged perpetrators.

In fact, as a recent article noted, the highly scrutinized Time Magazine "Person of the Year" was recently revealed to be the women who are shedding a light on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and abuse in America. But, the recent article also noted that, in many of the instances that are being publicized, it is only "famous" people who are being caught in the web of sexual harassment allegations. For "regular" people, it may be much more difficult to prove that sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace has occurred.

Understand your options after suffering from sexual harassment

Several of our most recent posts here have focused on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. The reasoning for this intense focus should be evident to our readers: this issue is roiling workplaces throughout the country, from Hollywood to New York City. It seems that every day now there is a new story in the news about a prominent celebrity, business executive or news anchor being accused of inappropriate sexual conduct in the workplace.

Why is this seeming wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations sweeping through the country? Well, there are many potential reasons, but one reason may be that, with increased focus and news media attention on the issue, victims of sexual harassment may be beginning to understand that they don't have to sit there and take this abuse - they have options.

What should the consequences be for workplace sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment has been occurring in workplaces in Minnesota and throughout the country for a long time, but now it seems this topic is getting much-needed attention in the daily news cycle, both locally and nationwide. High-powered executives, movie producers and even politicians are facing allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. Now that these allegations are out in the public light, the next issue needs to be addressed: What should the consequences be for individuals who engage in workplace sexual harassment?

A recent article explored this topic, noting that many well-known individuals are facing sexual harassment allegations. In essence, the article broke the consequences down into two areas: legal and cultural.

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.

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