Friday, July 26, 2019

Do Your Employees Know When Their Commissions and Bonuses are “Earned”? Dealing with Minnesota’s New Wage Theft Statute

As we discussed in prior posts (“Minnesota’sNew Wage Theft Law: Are You Prepared?” and “Minneapolis Wants a Piece of the Wage Theft Pie”), Minnesota’s 2019 legislature passed expansive new “wage theft” protections for employees. Most of the new law’s provisions became effective July 1. The new criminal penalties for intentional wage theft are effective August 1. While the new law contains numerous significant changes to wage-related notice and recordkeeping requirements, payment of commissions and bonuses is also affected and deserves an employer’s close attention to achieve compliance without creating unnecessary burdens.

Bonuses are “earnings,” which the law dictates be paid at least every 31 days. For commissions, the new law provides that “all commissions earned by an employee” must be paid at least once every three months. Payment of commissions must be made “on a regular payday designated in advance by the employer regardless of whether the employee requests payment at longer intervals.” If commissions or bonuses are not paid within the required time from when they are earned, the Minnesota Commissioner of Labor and Industry may serve a demand for payment on behalf of the employee. If an earned bonus or commission is not paid within 10 days of the Commissioner’s demand, the MN Department of Labor and Industry may charge and collect the bonus or commission, along with a substantial penalty for each day beyond the 10-day limit.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Minneapolis Wants a Piece of the Wage Theft Pie

On the heels of the new Minnesota state wage theft law, which went into effect on July 1st, the Minneapolis City Council has proposed a city wage theft ordinance. The proposed Minneapolis ordinance mirrors the new state law in many respects, but includes some additional requirements. The City’s ordinance would require employers to put all pay agreements in writing and provide regular written or electronic earnings statements to workers. The proposal also includes a streamlined resolution process for wage disputes that does not require an employee to have an attorney and creates a presumption of retaliation if any adverse employment action occurs within 90 days of a wage complaint. A companion proposal brought by the City Council would expand these employee protections to freelance workers, such as independent contractors and ride-share drivers.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Lessons Learned from Two Recent Seventh Circuit ADA Cases

Last month, the Seventh Circuit (which has jurisdiction over appeals from federal district courts in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) decided two cases with claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In one case, the Seventh Circuit joined multiple other circuits in holding that obesity, on its own, is not a protected disability under the ADA. In the other, however, the Seventh Circuit revived claims of an employee who alleges he was discriminated against due to his alcoholism.

Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority

During an examination of his fitness to return to work, a driver for the CTA was found to be over the seat manufacturer’s maximum weight of 400 pounds. The CTA put the driver on temporary medical disability and he remained on inactive status for two years. When he did not submit the medical documentation required to extend his status for another year, the CTA terminated his employment.