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Total Articles: 4

The Times They Are A Changin’: Minnesota Bill Would Remove “Severe or Pervasive” Sexual Harassment Standard

After suffering two embarrassing departures of its members in the wake of sexual harassment complaints by staffers and female members, the Minnesota Legislature is considering amending the state’s discrimination statute to state that a plaintiff need not prove that the sexual harassment was “severe or pervasive.” To quote a well-known Minnesotan, Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A Changin’.”

Minnesota Legislature Proposes Sweeping Change to Sexual Harassment Law

On April 23, 2018, Minnesota House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin introduced HF 4459, a bill to amend the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) to change the legal standard for sexual harassment. The bill, which has wide bipartisan support and 34 cosponsors, has a companion bill in the Senate sponsored by Senator Karen Housley. If passed, the bill would do away with the “severe or pervasive” standard for sexual harassment claims, but is silent on the replacement. As drafted, the bill would likely create confusion and uncertainty for employers, employees, and the courts statewide.

Michigan Bans the Ban: New Law Stops Local Government Regulations on Employer Inquiries

On March 26, 2018, Governor Rick Snyder signed an amendment to Michigan’s Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act into law. Public Act 84 (2018) prohibits local government bodies from adopting or enforcing any local policy, resolution, or ordinance that regulates what a prospective employer must request, require, or exclude during the interview process or on an application for employment.

Separation Agreement Drafting Error Corrected by Michigan Appeals Court

A Michigan appellate court denied an attempt by an employee to receive a severance jackpot based on a drafting mistake made by his former employer. Notwithstanding the employee’s entitlement, based on the terms of his separation agreement, to receive approximately $81 thousand dollars per week for 34 weeks, the State of Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision to reform the contract, resulting in the employee receiving a total of $81 thousand over 34 weeks. The case highlights, among other things, the importance of proofreading.