Minnesota News & Analysis

  • Claims filed by clerk who burned customer with cigarette flame out

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit (whose rulings apply to all Minnesota employers) recently affirmed the dismissal of a teenage convenience store clerk's claims of hostile work environment and retaliation based on a customer's harassment of her during one overnight shift. According to the court, the isolated incident wasn't severe enough to create a hostile work environment.

  • Noncompete unenforceable without protectable interest and narrower scope

    The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently affirmed a district court's determination that a noncompete agreement between an auction company and its former employee was unenforceable, both because the employer failed to establish a legitimate interest in need of protection and because the scope of the agreement was unreasonable.

  • New DOL program offers self-reporting of wage and hour violations

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in March 2018 that it is launching a program to allow employers a chance to self-audit their wage and hour practices—and report any violations they find—in exchange for limited protection from additional liabilities and claims. The program, dubbed the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (or PAID) program, will start as a six-month pilot, after which the DOL will decide whether to offer it on a permanent basis.

  • Congress pins down tip-pooling requirements

    When Congress passed another spending bill in March 2018, few people were expecting it to resolve a somewhat obscure and highly technical dispute over how employers allocate tips among their workers. Nevertheless, that's exactly what the law does, and the result is much-needed clarity on the topic. Let's take a closer look at tip pools, their history, and what the new law accomplishes.

  • 'Art of the deal'? Lessons from the Indianapolis Colts' head coaching saga

    It's well known that no deal is done until the parties sign on the dotted line. But the Indianapolis Colts recently learned that the hard way. Shortly after the conclusion of Super Bowl LII, the Colts scheduled a press conference and issued a statement that New England Patriots assistant coach Josh McDaniels would be their new head coach. Colts.com even published an article titled "Getting to Know: Josh McDaniels," in which McDaniels is described as gaining "a golden opportunity to put it all together" with the Colts.

  • Agency Action

    DOJ sues California over immigration. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in March 2018 that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had filed a lawsuit against California based on the state's enactment of laws seen as creating "sanctuary" jurisdictions. The DOJ says three different state laws "intentionally obstruct and discriminate against the enforcement of federal immigration law." The department contends that the laws are preempted by federal law and "impermissibly target the Federal Government, and therefore violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution."

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds global engagement levels at all-time high. Global employee engagement levels hit an all-time high in 2017, according to research from Aon, a global professional services firm. The 2017 figures follow a dip in engagement levels the previous year. Aon's analysis of more than five million employees at more than 1,000 organizations around the world found that global employee engagement levels reached 65% in 2017, up from 63% in 2016. The percentage of employees who were highly engaged increased from 24% in 2016 to 27% in 2017. Aon research shows that a five-point increase in employee engagement is linked to a three-point increase in revenue growth in the subsequent year.

  • Minnesota whistleblower allowed to seek punitive damages

    A federal judge recently allowed an employee claiming whistleblower status to add a claim for punitive damages, drawing a distinction between the conduct on which the employee blew the whistle (which was insufficient to support punitive damages) and the employer's conduct in terminating the employee (which was sufficient to support punitive damages).

  • Minnesota court says employee filing discrimination claim as Jane Doe is a no go

    A Minnesota federal court recently denied a fired federal employee the right to file a lawsuit under a pseudonym in a discrimination case.

  • MN employee who quit to care for sister not eligible for unemployment benefits

    On February 12, 2018, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed an unemployment law judge's (ULJ) holding that an employee was not eligible for unemployment benefits because she quit her job to care for her sick sister and "sister" is not included in the definition of "immediate family member" under the "provide necessary care" exception.