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Minnesota Supreme Court Reverses Course: Employees May Assert Claims Both for Workers’ Compensation Benefits and for Disability Discrimination

The Minnesota Supreme Court in Daniel v. City of Minneapolis overruled itself, and 30 years of precedent, by holding the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act’s exclusivity provision does not bar disability discrimination claims for the same injury. A summary of the facts of the case follows, along with takeaways for employers.

Minnesota Legislative Update: Bills to Watch

The Minnesota Legislature is in session through May 20, 2019. This session promises to be very active with numerous bills affecting employers and the workplace. Major bills include paid leaves of absence (including family and sick leave), restrictions on an employer’s ability to access social media accounts, right-to-work legislation, vaccination exemptions, wage theft, and the legal standard for sexual harassment, and making available to a complaining party more information regarding the employer’s investigation and corrective action.

St. Paul Will Gradually Phase In a $15 Minimum Wage Over the Next Several Years

Minimum wage rates for employees of the largest businesses in St. Paul will increase to $15 per hour on July 1, 2022. Other businesses in St. Paul will be required to meet the wage hike between July 1, 2023, and July 1, 2027, depending on their size.

Duluth Joins Twin Cities to Become Third City in Minnesota to Pass a Safe and Sick Time Ordinance, but Differences From Minneapolis and St. Paul Ordinances May Cause Headaches for Employers

Continuing a national trend, on May 30, 2018, the Duluth City Council enacted an ordinance requiring private businesses that employ five or more employees to provide paid sick and safe leave to employees. The ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2020. It requires employers to provide employees up to 40 hours of covered sick and safe leave per year, and it also ensures that employees have a private civil cause of action against their employers for violations of the ordinance.

Twins Once More: Saint Paul Passes $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance

On November 14, 2018, the Saint Paul City Council passed, and Mayor Melvin Carter signed into law, an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage in Saint Paul, Minnesota to $15 an hour starting as early as 2022 for large businesses operating within city limits. Long a priority of Mayor Carter, the increased Saint Paul minimum wage is now more closely aligned with that of its twin city, Minneapolis.

Michigan OSHA Clarifies Requirements for Eyewashes and Safety Showers

Earlier this month MIOSHA released a new Fact Sheet entitled Eyewashes and Safety Showers. Briefly, this Fact Sheet states the general requirement that:

Triplets? Duluth Joins Twin Cities in Enacting Paid Sick and Safe Time Law

After considerable fact-finding efforts and numerous amendments, Duluth, Minnesota enacted Minnesota’s third paid sick and safe time law. Employers with Minnesota operations may not find three to be a magic number because—while parts of the new law are similar to those in Minneapolis and St. Paul—Duluth’s law breaks from the pack on various issues. Fortunately, because the law will not take effect until January 1, 2020, employers have more time to determine whether and how Duluth’s standards interact with existing policies and procedures. Below we answer the most common paid sick and safe time questions employers have when a new law is enacted, and note key differences between Duluth’s law and those already in effect in the Twin Cities.

Court Confirms Minneapolis Sick Leave Ordinance Not Enforceable Against Employers Based Outside of City

Last week, a court upheld the Minneapolis paid sick leave ordinance, but ruled that it is only enforceable against employers within the city’s limits. Minneapolis’s paid sick leave ordinance was passed in 2016 and was immediately challenged by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which argued that the Minneapolis ordinance conflicts with state law and cannot be enforced against employers who do not have a physical presence in the city. That challenge resulted in a temporary injunction of the ordinance against employers located outside of the City of Minneapolis, but employers located within the city had to comply and offer the mandated paid sick leave. Now, the court has made the temporary injunction permanent. Employers should keep their eye on the status of the Minneapolis paid sick leave law to see if the City appeals the court’s decision or amends the ordinance in a way to cover more employees working in Minneapolis for employers that don’t have a physical presence in the city.

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.