Employment law attorney Shawn Wanta was quoted in a June 19, 2014 Minnesota Lawyer article, “Wage and hour battles on the rise.” The article discusses the rise in the number wage and hour claims being brought forward under state laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act over the past decade. These claims deal with the alleged theft of employee wages through forcing employees to work off the clock, shaving time off of time cards, not paying overtime, and denying mandated breaks.
Governor Dayton signed an amendment to the Minnesota Human Rights Act, ensuring that victims of discrimination or retaliation are entitled to a jury by their peers. The bill provides that victims of discrimination in employment, housing, education or other areas, will have the right to a jury trial in cases brought in state court.
Immigrants and temporary workers are often silent about certain employment abuses, lost wages, and other violations in fear of facing retaliation or losing their position. Temporary agencies and employers suspected of hiring immigrants and foreign nationals are continually under scrutiny because of the employment and human rights abuses, especially in certain industries, including farming.
In another Minnesota legislative victory, Governor Dayton signed the Women’s Economic Security Act into law. WESA offers a broad stroke of legislative improvements towards economic progress for women, including a number of changes to Minnesota employment laws. It addresses the needs of women in the workplace, aims to prevent discrimination, bolsters economic opportunities, and supports female business owners.
Every year, employees bring thousands of cases alleging misclassification under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the FLSA, contractors and employees are given different legal status. Employers who misclassify workers as “Independent Contractors” rather than employees can evade certain responsibilities, including benefits, workers compensation, and other compliance issues. Workers as well as business owners must be aware of the legal differences so that employees are properly classified and compensated.
Minimum wage workers statewide can expect an hourly raise since Governor Mark Dayton signed the new minimum wage law this week. This takes Minnesota from one of the lowest minimum wage rates to one of the highest—guaranteeing workers $9.50 per hour by 2016. The new law could increase the wages of 325,000 workers throughout Minnesota.
Unpaid overtime remains a problem for many Minnesota employees. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires many employers to pay overtime wages to employees for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week. Minnesota law requires employers to pay overtime wages to employees in excess of 48 hours per workweek. Overtime wages are mandatory and any agreement or policy to not pay overtime is invalid. Even if an employer doesn’t “approve” overtime, it must pay an employee overtime wages if the employee actually worked more than 40 hours in a work week.
“Caregiver discrimination” is a developing area in employment law and concerns legal protections for employees with family responsibilities. There is a growing need to protect the number of workers who are discriminated against for caregiving. This area of law is increasingly important, as caregiving discrimination cases are on the rise in Minnesota and nationwide.
Service employees, including wait staff, bartenders and other staff are often at the whims of their employers when it comes to tipping policies. In a competitive job market, many employees may not fully understand their rights or be afraid to stand up to employers when they are forced to turn over tips.
Whether you are applying for a new position or are under review as an existing employee, you may wonder about how your credit history or background check may impact your employment. Under the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA), employers must follow a very specific protocol to ensure compliance and to protect your rights as a part of the job application background check process.