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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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24 May 2017 Trump’s Proposed Paid Family Leave

  In his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, President Donald Trump allocated $20 billion to establish a “Federal-state paid parental leave program” within the unemployment insurance program. The paid family leave program would provide six weeks of paid leave benefits for mothers, fathers and adoptive parents. The program would begin in 2020.   Exact details on how this program would be run, however, were not provided in the proposed budget. However, the budget plan explained that states would have “broad latitude” in designing and…

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13 Apr 2017 Minnesota Human Rights Act’s Statute of Limitations Tolls When Employer Investigates Discrimination Complaints

  The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) requires an individual to either commence a civil action or file a charge with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) within one year after the occurrence of an unlawful discriminatory act. However, that one year time period is suspended when the individual and the employer voluntarily engage in a dispute resolution process. The statute states that a “dispute resolution process” can include arbitration, conciliation, mediation or grievance procedures.   Most employers have believed the statute of limitations…

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11 Apr 2017 Suspending Employee Who Hit Boss With Vehicle Not Retaliation

  In a rather unusual case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court ruled that the U.S. Postal Service (“Postal Service”) did not retaliate against an employee when it suspended him for two days after he hit his supervisor with a postal vehicle.   Javier Cabral, a letter carrier for the Postal Service, filed three different Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) complaints and several union grievances alleging discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Cabral ultimately sued the Postal Service, alleging hostile work environment, harassment,…

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03 Mar 2017 By the Numbers: Women in the Workforce

  In honor of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Department of Labor posted some thought-provoking statistics about working women.  While employers already know women play an important role in the U.S. job market, these figures demonstrate just how significant female workers are in our economy.  Below are some of the fascinating numbers about working women:   Nearly half of the U.S. workforce is comprised of women, with more than 74.6 million women employed in civilian jobs Almost 10 million women are business owners and account…

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01 Mar 2017 Call-In Procedures and Intermittent FMLA

  Intermittent FMLA leave and attendance issues: an employer’s nightmare. There are so many different rules that employers must follow, inquiries that can and cannot be made, and potentials for employee abuse.   Imagine this scenario: An employee is approved for intermittent FMLA leave to care for a sick child. The employer informs the employee about its process for administering this leave, which includes calling both the organization’s attendance line at least 30 minutes prior to missing work. Despite being informed of this process, the…

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12 Dec 2016 Litigation Battle Over Minneapolis Sick Leave Ordinance

  As explained in an earlier blog, Minneapolis passed a controversial paid sick leave ordinance in the spring. The ordinance affects all private employers with one or more employees working at least 80 hours in a calendar year in Minneapolis – which equates to 1.5 hours per week.   In response, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce commenced litigation in Hennepin County District Court, seeking injunctive relief to halt the ordinance, which is to become effective July 1, 2017. On Dec. 8, the court did not…

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08 Dec 2016 OSHA Contemplates Workplace Violence Standard for Healthcare, Social Assistance Workers

  On Dec. 7, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a Request for Information (RFI) as to whether a standard should be developed to address workplace violence in the healthcare and social assistance sectors. The RFI specifically seeks information on issues that might be considered in developing a standard, including its scope and the types of controls that might be required.   In issuing this RFI, OSHA explained that workplace violence in the healthcare and service assistance industries is substantially higher than in all…

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28 Oct 2016 Arbitration Agreement Enforced Based on Continued Employment

  According to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, two University of Phoenix employees agreed to mandatory arbitration agreements by continuing to work after receiving, but purportedly not electronically signing, the acknowledgment of the agreements.   In the unpublished decision in Aldrich v. University of Phoenix, Inc., the court found that the employees each electronically received the arbitration agreements, which were contained in the employee handbook.  The court also found that the university’s records showed each employee completed the acknowledgment form electronically (both individuals deny…

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25 Jul 2016 First Minneapolis, Now St. Paul – Another Earned Sick and Safe Time Mandate

  As explained in an earlier blog, the Minneapolis City Council passed the controversial ordinance that will require employers with at least one employee working in the city of Minneapolis to provide paid sick time. Now, the St. Paul City Council is considering passing a similar measure.   In early August, the city council will receive the proposed ordinance from a city-led task force that was appointed in February 2016 to examine the possibility of extending Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) to all employees…

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24 Jun 2016 Minneapolis Employers Brace for Paid Sick Leave

At the end of May, the Minneapolis City Council passed a controversial ordinance that will require all employers with at least one employee working in the city of Minneapolis to provide sick leave. The ordinance will become effective on July 1, 2017.  Highlights of the ordinance include:   Eligibility:   – Eligible employees include any employee who works within the geographical boundaries of the City and works at least 80 hours in a year.  Eligible employees include full-time, part-time, and temporary employees so long as…

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