Voting rights and time off in Minnesota workplaces

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2016 | Employee Rights |

The 2016 presidential election has garnered a great deal of attention, both in the media and otherwise. No matter which candidate you support, the important thing is that on election day you get out and vote for your preferred candidate. Indeed, voting rights are some of the most important rights in our nation.

Employees in Minnesota may find, however, that they must take time off of work to exercise their right to vote. They may wonder whether their employer can refuse to let them to do so, or can dock their wages for taking time off to vote. However, Minnesota law protects employees in such situations.

Per Minnesota law, employers must allow their employees to take the time off of work needed to vote in all federal and state elections, if doing so falls within the employee’s normal working hours. In fact, Minnesota employers cannot either overtly or implicitly refuse to let an employee vote, nor can the employer limit or interfere with the employee’s voting rights. In addition, Minnesota employers cannot dock an employee’s wages if the employee takes time off to vote.

That being said, employees should return to work after taking only as much time as is necessary to cast their ballots. In addition, an employer can request that the employee notify them as to when they plan on going to vote. An employer may also ask that employees in the workplace organize the time they are taking off to vote in a manner that minimizes disruptions to the workplace.

Employee rights, including their right to take time off work to vote, are important to uphold. Not only are employers required to let employees vote, but if they violate the state’s voting laws, it is considered to be a misdemeanor offense. If an employee’s voting rights have been infringed upon by their employer, they can file a complaint with their county attorney. In addition, they may also want to seek the advice of an employment law attorney, to see if there are any other employment claims they can make in such situations.