nding five years of contentious litigation, the Minnesota Supreme Court has reversed a million-dollar jury verdict for negligent misrepresentation against the head coach of the University of Minnesota (“U of M”) Men’s Basketball Team for offering an assistant coaching job to a former assistant coach only later to withdraw the offer. The University withdrew the offer after discovering the candidate’s prior recruiting violations at the University. Williams v. Smith, et al., Nos. A10-1802 and A11-0567 (Minn. Aug. 8, 2012). This decision clarifies and narrows the scope of negligent misrepresentation claims in job offer and hiring situations for both public and private employers in Minnesota.
Articles About Minnesota Labor and Employment Law.
Unlike the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, an exemption under the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA) for agricultural workers does not apply to workers who are paid on an hourly basis, according to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. In re Labor Law Violation of Daley Farm of Lewiston, No. 11-1900-19544-2 (Minn. Ct. App. July 9, 2012).
The Minnesota Parenting Leave Act does not provide that “an extension of leave also extends the right to reinstatement,” the Minnesota high court has held. Hansen v. Robert Half Int’l, 2012 Minn. LEXIS 212 (May 30, 2012). Therefore, the employer did not violate the MPLA by failing to reinstate its employee to her position or a comparable position after her maternity leave, the Supreme Court ruled. In addition, the Court rejected the employee’s claim that she was retaliated against for taking maternity leave, in violation of the MPLA; rather, her position was eliminated as a result of a bona fide reduction-in-force. Finally, the Court ruled the employee failed to establish her termination was because of her sex, in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Accordingly, the Court affirmed summary judgment for the employer on all claims.
In good news for employers, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has clarified that “employment misconduct” includes a misrepresentation made during hiring and affirmed the denial of unemployment benefits. Santillana v. Central Minnesota Council on Aging and Minnesota Dep’t of Employment and Econ. Dev., No. 23466835-3 (Minn. Ct. App. Nov. 30, 2010). Under Minnesota law, an employee who is discharged for employment misconduct is ineligible from receiving unemployment benefits.