White hood was a joke? No one's laughing now

When Kenneth, who is black, complained that his co-workers used a white hood to harass and intimidate him, management told him the incident was meant as a joke.

Never pre-judge obviously disabled applicants

Pre-judging an applicant with an obvious disability can lead to big legal trouble. Just mentioning such a disability—think needing crutches to walk, for example—can become the basis for a discrimination lawsuit if the applicant isn’t hired.

Miscimarra to step down from NLRB

National Labor Relations Board Chair  Philip Miscimarra says he won’t seek reappointment to the board when his term expires in December.

UPS settles EEOC disability discrimination suit for $2 million

International shipping giant UPS has agreed to pay $2 million to nearly 90 current and former employees to settle a nationwide EEOC disability discrimination lawsuit filed in 2009.

Suffering FMLA abuse? Cure top 4 symptoms

Summertime and the winter holidays are the two peak seasons for employee leave requests—including FMLA leave. How many of your employees’ FMLA requests will be suspicious this holiday season?

Ensure training programs are equal opportunity

Make training available to everyone who may benefit. Be sure there’s no hidden bias behind choosing who gets to take part. If members of a protected class routinely miss out, expect a lawsuit.

Federal, state & local: Keep your mandatory posters up to date

Minnesota employers are required to provide their employees with a dizzying array of information about their workplace rights. If you haven’t recently reviewed the posters hanging in your break room or above the time clock, now is a good time to make sure you’re in compliance with all posting requirements.

Northwest Title ordered to pay $107k in back wages

An administrative law judge has ordered Northwest Title, located in White Bear Lake, Minn., to pay two employees $107,893 in back wages and fringe benefits.

Surly tip pool violated state wage-and-hour law

A Hennepin County District Judge has sided with a former bartender at the Surly Brewing Co. in Minneapolis in a dispute over the company’s tip pooling practices.

Court: State and federal law are not mutually exclusive

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Minnesota employers, has revived a lawsuit against a union for allegedly violating a state disability discrimination law.

Give contractors plenty of leeway, so it's clear they are truly independent

If you plan on using independent contractors to get work done, be sure to grant those workers a great deal of autonomy and freedom to do their work as they see fit. The less effort you make to control how and when they do their jobs, the better off you are.

Was that really a layoff, or just an excuse to get rid of a squeaky wheel?

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals had reinstated a lawsuit against a grain operator based on the suspicious timing of a discharge and the use of what the court thought sounded like a manufactured excuse for not rehiring the worker.

Religion accommodation not protected ... yet

In a case likely to be appealed, the EEOC has lost a bid to have federal courts within the 8th Circuit consider request for religious accommodation to be protected activity.

EEOC sues M&T Bank, alleging disability bias

When Buffalo-based M&T Bank purchased Hudson City Savings Bank, it got a little more than it bargained for. It inherited the fallout from HCSB’s “100%-healed” policy, which requires employees to take sick leave unless they could work with no medical restrictions whatsoever.

Want arbitration? Consider opt-out provision

One of the most difficult aspects of creating a binding arbitration agreement is the almost inevitable litigation over whether the agreement you presented to workers is a legally binding contract. This case shows one way to make a contract binding: Allow employees to opt out up front.
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