Minnesota Employment Law Blog

The Veterans Preference Act

With the drawdown of the U.S. Military, many veterans are entering the workforce. Many public employers, and some private employers, have gone out of their way to hire veterans. While most of these are highly motivated and capable employees, there are some terminations from time to time. Minnesota Statutes section 197.46, the Veterans Preference Act, governs the termination of veterans from government jobs.

What is a "Bonding Year" for the Minnesota Legislature?

Minnesota legislators and legislatures often refer to even numbered years as “bonding” and odd years as “budgeting.” However, there is no constitutional or other legal provision requiring “bonding” vs. “budgeting” years. The informal distinction simply means that in odd years, the legislature hopes to pass a two year budget. In odd years, with the budget taken care of, they have a shorter session in which they address bonding—incurring long term debt to address long term investments.

The distinction is informal and not mandatory. The State of Minnesota has passed bonding measures in “budget” years. It has addressed the budget in “bonding” years. It has also gone through “bonding” years without issuing any bonds.

Garnishments

It is not uncommon for an employer to receive a Garnishment Summons and Disclosure Form from a creditor of its employee. The Garnishment Summons must include the full name of the debtor and the debtor's last known mailing address, the remaining unpaid balance of the debt owed, and the date of entry of judgment, pursuant to Minnesota Statute 571.72 subdiv. 2. The Garnishment Summons must also include $15.00 to be paid to the employer.

NLRB's Recent Decision on Employer-Mandated Arbitration

Amex Card Servs. Co. - The Decision


For over a decade, Amex Card Services Company ("Amex") had a history of requiring its employees to enter into an arbitration agreement as a condition of their employment. Said policy expressly waived all rights to trial regarding employment-related disputes. Written acceptance was required to be submitted via a "New Hire Employment Arbitration Policy Acknowledgement Form" (the "Form") before an employee could begin working for the company. Employment-related disputes arising under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) were expressly excluded from the policy, but this fact was not disclosed to all employees, for it was not noted on the Form nor was the arbitration policy incorporated therein.

Employing Members of the Minnesota National Guard

While the Ebola outbreak has mostly faded from American headlines, until this past Saturday, hundreds of Minnesotans were prepared to deploy to Liberia to support U.S. efforts to contain the virus. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014, and the current epidemic has now killed more than all other known Ebola outbreaks combined. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered nearly 700 Minnesota National Guard members from the Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division to be mobilized to support humanitarian relief in Liberia this spring, but on Saturday, the troops were informed that their deployment has been called off. Even though the soldiers are no longer heading to Liberia, with Minnesota National Guard units in sixty-two communities statewide, this is a good reminder for businesses that employ National Guard members or their family members to brush up on the many federal and state laws regarding military leave.

EEOC'S First Direct Challenge to an Employer Wellness Program

Photo of Laura Myslis

The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against a Wisconsin employer, claiming it violated federal law by requiring an employee to submit to medical exams and inquires that were not job-related and consistent with business necessity as part of a "wellness program" instituted by the employer. The wellness program was not voluntary. The employer fired the employee when she objected to the program.

The particular wellness program at issue required medical examinations and made disability-required inquiries. When the employee declined to participate in the in the program, the employer shifted responsibility for payment of the entire premium for employee health benefits to the employee.

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

A deeply divided Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision Monday deciding that certain for-profit companies cannot be required to pay for specific types of contraceptives for their employees. The decision has set-off frenzied debates over religious and reproductive rights, as well as ignited speculation as to the future reach of the law. While the majority, led by Justice Alito, took pains to issue a narrow holding, the dissent, led by Justice Ginsburg, as well as many critics, fear the "startling breath" of the decision.

Under regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), employers with 50 or more full-time employees are generally required to offer specified employers' group health plans to furnish preventive care and screenings for women without any cost sharing requirements. Employers are required to provide coverage for all 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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