Minnesota News & Analysis

  • Incarcerated employee still eligible for unemployment benefits

    The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently reversed a decision denying unemployment benefits to a worker who was fired for being in jail and missing work.

  • DOL issues FMLA opinion letters after a long break

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued opinion letters interpreting the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This may be a sign that the Trump administration intends to rely heavily on opinion letters as a form of guidance for employers, a practice that had been discarded by the Obama administration.

  • Implementation specialist sells court on limiting enforcement of noncompete agreement

    The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled on an employee's ability to work for a competitor despite having a noncompete agreement with his former employer.

  • Right to carry doesn't create right to threaten others at work

    The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently heard a claim for unemployment benefits by an employee who was discharged for making threats against her supervisor and coworkers. On appeal, the court held that she wasn't entitled to unemployment benefits because her threats constituted employment misconduct.

  • Don't forget to properly classify independent contractors

    You likely recall a time not so long ago when the improper classification of employees as independent contractors was the hot topic for the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In 2011, the agencies entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" in which they agreed to share information about potential misclassifications in an effort to crack down on the common practice. The DOL also entered into similar agreements with roughly 30 state departments of labor.

  • Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

    Everyone fudges the truth on occasion. But lies in the workplace should not be tolerated. A failure to address affirmative falsifications and lies of omission can lead to a culture where secrets, misrepresentations, and self-preservation are regularly placed above the company's best interests.

  • Agency Action

    OFCCP releases directives on equal employment and religious freedom. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in August issued two new policy directives, one focused on equal employment opportunity and the other addressing religious freedom. The equal employment opportunity directive calls for more comprehensive reviews of contractor compliance with federal antidiscrimination laws. The religious freedom directive is aimed at protecting the rights of religion-exercising organizations. The DOL said it is implementing a comprehensive compliance initiative that will include adding focused reviews to its compliance activities. The religious freedom directive instructs OFCCP staff to take into account recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and White House Executive Orders that protect religious freedom.

  • Workplace Trends

    Salary increases expected to remain flat. Research from workforce consulting firm Mercer shows salary increase budgets for U.S. employees are at 2.8% in 2018—no change from 2017. Salary increase budgets for 2019 are projected to be just 2.9%, despite factors like the tightening labor market and a high rate of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs. The information comes from Mercer's "2018/2019 US Compensation Planning Survey." Mercer's research shows that even newly available investment dollars from the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act aren't enhancing the compensation budgets for most companies. Mercer says just 4% of organizations have redirected some of their anticipated tax savings to their salary increase budgets.

  • Well-drafted agreements prevent costly litigation

    The Minnesota Supreme Court recently affirmed the basis for a court of appeals decision to excuse an employee's failure to immediately return his former employer's property—he had hoped to avoid the forfeiture of millions of dollars in deferred compensation—but sent the case back to the district court for additional findings.

  • Make sure to craft unique agreements for unique employment arrangements

    The court of appeals recently reversed a temporary injunction against three former employees and their new employer and in favor of Medtronic, Inc., and Medtronic USA, Inc. When issuing the injunction, the lower court improperly expanded the duration and scope of the underlying noncompetition agreements, so the appeals court has now sent the case back for further proceedings.