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Minneapolis Wrongful Termination Law Blog

Founder of St. Paul dance group resigns in wake of lawsuit

The co-founder of a nationally known dance troupe based in the Twin Cities has resigned in the wake of a lawsuit alleging that he sexually harassed a former employee. He served as both a dancer and choreographer for the group.

The man offered his resignation so his company could move forward from the allegations. His wife, and the co-founder of the group, will continue on as the artistic director of the group. The man has admitted that he had an affair with the former employee but denies the sexual harassment claims.

Know the new city ordinance and state laws for a wage claim

Workers in Minnesota are required by law to receive a certain amount of wages for work they do. However, some employers might try to reduce what an employee is paid and use illegal means to do so. This is known as wage theft. Workers who are aware of the new minimum wage law should also be cognizant of how the new wage theft laws will protect them.

Minneapolis has a new ordinance regarding wage theft. It is largely the same as new state laws that went into effect in July of 2019. Still, there are differences and employers who have not followed them could be held accountable. Employees who are already working and those who are hired in the future and are protected by the ordinance will receive a pre-hire notice from the city, except in cases when they already received the information. Workers must get this notice in the initial payroll period of the new year. The city pre-hire notice is the same as the state form. Employers can use one form to adhere to the law.

Minnesota poised for a minimum wage increase

Minimum wage workers in Minnesota will get a 1.4% wage hike effective on January 1, with employers being required to pay at least $10 an hour to most workers. The federal minimum wage, at least for the time being, remains $7.25 an hour. However, Minnesota, like many other states, sets a statewide minimum wage higher than the federal minimum.

Residents should be aware that individual cities within the state, including Minneapolis, have local ordinances that set a higher minimum wage within their respective city limits. For its part, Minneapolis is on track to require all businesses to pay $15 an hour by July of 2024, with larger companies paying $15 an hour by 2023.

Holiday parties have potential for sexual harassment

The holidays are a time for people in Minnesota and throughout the United States to enjoy some extra time off and take part in holiday parties. Some of these parties are held at their place of employment. While the intention is to allow employees and their supervisors and bosses to socialize in a less-stressful atmosphere and celebrate, studies suggest it also opens the door to the possibility that there will be inappropriate statements or comments and unwanted touching.

Recent research indicates that work events that are designed to be "fun" leads to a rise in sexual harassment cases. Employers can benefit and avoid these complaints, if they have the events during work hours, when workers can choose not to attend and they can bring guests to the event. Avoiding sexual harassment in these circumstances can be achieved, the study says, by management being vigilant with the parties and protecting employees from finding themselves in situations where they are confronted with unwanted sexual advances and other harassing behaviors.

Office parties can be a breeding ground for sexual harassment

Many people in the Twin Cities area either have had or probably will be having their office parties or more informal work-related get-togethers in the upcoming days. Even for those who have already had them, this is a good time of year to think about social functions related to work in general.

Holiday parties and other social engagements at work are indeed often fun, and they can be a great way to show appreciation for employees. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, they can also be breeding grounds for sexual harassment and other forms of unlawful discrimination.

What is retaliation in employment?

Employment law is a very complex area that can be difficult for businesses to keep up with when they are trying to run a company. Unfortunately, not knowing the laws isn't an excuse for failing to comply with them.

One area of the law that can be rather challenging is retaliation. There are so many things that could be considered retaliation that it is often difficult to determine disciplinary measures appropriate for an employee who has done something against the rules.

More on defamation actions in employment disputes

Previously, this blog discussed a legal case that involved a nurse suing her former employer for defamation. Her claim was that her employer falsely accused her of stealing medicine from the nursing home where she worked. It turned out the woman had a solid alibi. The case illustrates an important point about which Minnesota employees should be aware.

In many cases, employees may not have a lot of options after they get let go, other than simply to go and look for another job. After all, if the employee was at will, and so long as the employer followed the laws of the United States and Minnesota when it terminated the employee, the employee may not have a lot to fight about with respect to the termination itself.

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.

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
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