Friday, October 21, 2016

Employee Voting Rights & a Cautionary Word About Political Talk in the Workplace

With the presidential and general election rapidly approaching, Minnesota – and all – employers need to be mindful of employees’ rights to reasonable voting leave under state laws. Election season, particularly polarizing presidential campaigns and elections, can also present some headaches for well-intended employers.

Minnesota employees have a right to paid time off to vote. State law gives employees the right “to be absent from work for the time necessary to appear at the employee’s polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work.” Generally, an employer may not dock pay, personal leave, or vacation for voting leave. Indeed, if an employer “refuses, abridges, or interferes” with an employee’s right to voting leave, the employer is guilty of a misdemeanor. Minnesota’s law generally applies to all regularly scheduled elections, including a presidential nomination primary election (new for 2020).

Friday, October 14, 2016

New OSHA Rules Put a Wet Blanket on Blanket Post-Accident Drug Tests

Many employers require drug and alcohol testing of employees when they are involved in a workplace accident. Such testing is specifically permitted under Minnesota law. Effective August 10, 2016, however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted new rules that substantially restrict employers’ use of post-accident drug testing.

Friday, October 7, 2016

EEOC to Collect Summary Pay Data through Revised EEO-1 Report

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the approval of the new EEO-1 report form by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Beginning in March 2018, the EEOC will use the revised EEO-1 report to collect summary employee pay data from certain employers. Specifically, private employers with 100 or more employees are required to fill out the revised EEO-1 report on an annual basis. Federal contractors and subcontractors with 50-99 employees will not have to submit summary pay data, but they will continue to report demographic data annually on the EEO-1 report as before. Federal contractors and subcontractors with 49 or fewer employees will not be required to complete the EEO-1 report.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Do Employees Have the Right to Be “Insubordinate”?

“Insubordination” is a term that shows up frequently in documentation and discussions about why an employee was, or should be, disciplined or terminated. According to the dictionary definition, “insubordinate” means “not obeying authority” or “refusing to follow orders.” Following direction from one’s boss is a pretty important part of any job, so “insubordination” certainly sounds like it should be a terminable offense. However, it is risky for employers to accept a charge of insubordination at face value without analyzing the nature of the conflict that is driving it. Labor law protects a surprisingly high degree of insubordination if it is “concerted.”

Friday, September 23, 2016

Justice Department and NLRB Petition U.S. Supreme Court to Review Whether Arbitration Agreements Barring Collective or Class Action Claims Are An Unfair Labor Practice

On September 9, 2016, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the U.S. Justice Department filed a petition for certiorari in NLRB v. Murphy Oil, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether arbitration clauses requiring workers to arbitrate disputes individually—and not on the basis of collective or class actions (“class action waivers”)—are invalid under federal labor law. Given the clear split on this legal issue among the federal circuit courts, the Supreme Court appears likely to accept review.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

City of St. Paul Follows Minneapolis' Lead, Passes Ordinance Requiring Paid Sick Leave

Nearly a year ago, we began discussing the growing movement from the local to the national level to require employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. Just last week, St. Paul became the latest city to pass an ordinance that guarantees paid sick leave for covered employees who work 80 hours or more in the city per year.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

EEOC Issues Final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation

In our January 29, 2016 post, we informed you that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had published a proposed enforcement guidance on “Retaliation and Related Issues” for public comment. On August 25, 2016, the EEOC issued the final enforcement guidance, which is available here: