Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, in Peterson v. City of Minneapolis, ruled that a complaint process in an employer’s anti-discrimination policy may toll the statute of limitations under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). At issue was a section of the MHRA stating that the Act’s one-year statute of limitations is “suspended during the time period a potential charging party and respondent are voluntarily engaged in a dispute resolution process involving a claim of unlawful discrimination under this chapter.” Minn. Stat. § 363A.28, subd. 3. The court of appeals held that the phrase “voluntarily engaged in a dispute resolution process” may include the process of investigating an employee’s internal complaint of discrimination under an employer’s anti-discrimination policy. This ruling, if not overturned on appeal, significantly expands the scope of what most employers would view as a proper tolling of the statute of limitations.
Articles Discussing The Minnesota Human Rights Act.
This week, Minnesota passed the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA), a nine-part law intended to break down barriers for women in the workplace. Of direct interest to employers, the law protects employees’ discussion about wages, requires certain state government contractors to certify their compliance with pay equity laws, provides unemployment benefits for victims of sexual assault, domestic abuse, or stalking, offers time-off rights for relatives and “safety” leave, enhances rights and protections for pregnant and nursing mothers, expands new parent leave, and provides discrimination protections for familial status.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has signed the Women’s Economic Security Act (“Act”) into law. The Act is a major piece of legislation aimed at improving working conditions for women that will have a significant impact on Minnesota businesses.
Minnesota’s Supreme Court and its Court of Appeals have long followed federal cases in interpreting state civil rights laws analogous to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (the federal anti-discrimination law), such as the Minnesota Human Rights Act and Minnesota’s Whistleblower Act. Thus, in retaliation cases, an aggrieved employee needed to prove only that the employer’s retaliatory motive was a “discernible, discriminatory, and causative” factor in the adverse employment decision. Graham v. Special School District No. 1, 472 N.W.2d 114 (Minn. 1991). This may be changing.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has signed a law permitting civil marriage between any two consenting persons, including same-sex couples. The new law becomes effective on August 1, 2013.
Executive Summary: Your friends may refuse to hang out with you because of your spouse, but in Minnesota, your employer generally cannot. On May 20, 2013, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued the first Minnesota appellate decision addressing marital discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) since 2011, Aase v. Wapiti Meadows Community Techs. & Servs., Inc.