Minnesota News & Analysis

  • Could off-duty actions get 'Pool Patrol Paula' or 'I.D. Adam' fired in MN?

    A number of incidents have surfaced recently in which neighbors or passers-by have called police to report African Americans engaging in seemingly ordinary pursuits. Examples include calls to investigate a college student napping on a couch in her dorm, some friends grilling in a public park, and an 8-year-old girl selling bottled water in front of her home.

  • Compensation agreement subject to competing interpretations

    The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Minnesota employers) recently affirmed the dismissal of a claim for breach of contract, fraud, and unpaid wages because the employer did not "clearly intend" to change the employee from at-will to contract status by entering into a compensation agreement with him.

  • Under MHRA, tenure candidate need not prove she'd have been hired absent unlawful bias

    The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently reversed a trial court decision granting an employer's request for summary judgment (or dismissal without a trial), finding the University of Minnesota's decision not to advance a tenure candidate is a matter involving hiring and is therefore covered by the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).

  • 'Fair-share' fee ruling brings new day for public employers, employees

    With proponents of a U.S. Supreme Court decision against the collection of "fair-share" fees claiming a victory for First Amendment rights and critics calling the ruling an example of the Court siding with billionaires against workers, employers are adjusting to a major change in the world of agency shops in the public sector.

  • DOL loosens rules for association health plans

    Employers may soon have new options to obtain group health insurance through association health plans (AHPs) under new regulations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). A brief primer on the mechanics of insurance may be helpful before we dive into the new rules and what they could mean for you.

  • Agency Action

    EEOC reports on age discrimination 50 years after ADEA. Age discrimination remains too common and too accepted 50 years after the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) took effect, according to a report from Victoria A. Lipnic, acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The report, released June 26, 2018, says only about three percent of those who have experienced age discrimination complained to their employer or a government agency. Studies find that more than three-fourths of older workers surveyed report their age is an obstacle to getting a job. The report includes recommendations on strategies to prevent age discrimination, such as including age in diversity and inclusion programs and having age-diverse hiring panels. The report says research shows that age diversity can improve organizational performance and lower employee turnover and that mixed-age work teams result in higher productivity for both older and younger workers.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds people of color less likely to get requested pay raises. Research from compensation data and software provider PayScale, Inc., shows that people of color were less likely than white men to have received a raise when they asked for one. The research, announced in June, found women of color were 19% less likely to have received a raise and men of color were 25% less likely. The research also notes that no single gender or racial/ethnic group was more likely to have asked for a raise than any other group. The most common justification for denying a raise was budgetary constraints (49%). Just 22% of employees who heard that rationale actually believed it. Of those who said they didnt ask for a raise, 30% reported their reason for not asking was that they received a raise before they felt the need to ask for one.

  • Union Activity

    AFL-CIO launches campaign leading up to elections. The AFL- CIO kicked off its Labor 2018 campaign in June with a nationwide day of action aimed at educating voters in advance of the midterm elections. Were unleashing the largest and most strategic member-to-member political program in our history, sparking change by doing what we do best: talking to each other, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. Street-by-street and person-by-person, were having conversations about the issues that matter most: higher wages, better benefits, time off, a secure retirement, and a fair return on our labor. The campaign includes canvasses and phone banks taking place in at least 26 states.

  • It's not you—it's your bad driving

    The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently upheld the dismissal of a retaliatory discharge claim because the employer proved its legitimate nondiscriminatory business-related decision for the termination.

  • Minnesota computer company's noncompete takes too big a byte out of employee's rights

    A federal court in Minnesota recently agreed with a computer programmer that the noncompete clause in his employment contract was unenforceable. Acting on his request for summary judgment (i.e., ruling in his favor without a trial), the court said protecting prospective client relationships isn't a good enough reason to justify a five-year restriction period on an employee with no special training.