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Chaska MN Employment Law Blog

Can you sue for discrimination during a job interview?

Many people do not like going to job interviews. They are anxiety-inducing in the best of situations, and then there follows what seems like an inordinately long period as you wait to hear back about whether you got the job. In the meanwhile, you may be obsessing over that question you answered wrong or what some other question really meant.

And that is when the job interviews are aboveboard. When some of the questions seem discriminatory, you could be in for a whole new level of worry, especially if you are denied the job and wonder if discrimination is what caused it.

3 warning signs of sexual harassment in your workplace

When you get to your place of employment each day, you simply want to complete your tasks. However, sometimes there are people at work who make this difficult. Maybe a coworker constantly flirts with you, touches you or has conversations that make you uncomfortable. What might start off as seemingly harmless flirting or banter could very well be sexual harassment.

So, how do you know if you are dealing with sexual harassment? Here are some top warning signs you are being sexually harassed.

Get the most out of your unemployment benefits

If you are out of a job, you are far from alone. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the unemployment rate in Minnesota is close to 4 percent.

Unemployment benefits are a helpful resource to individuals who lose their jobs. For you to hopefully get the most out of your benefits, it is important to understand the stipulations of receiving the assistance and other resources connected to it.

Federal protections for age discrimination victims

If you have ever experienced unfair treatment while on the job because of your age, you may be wondering whether what happened to you crossed the line between unprofessional and illegal behavior. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is what protects you and other American workers over the age of 40 at the federal level from becoming the subject of age-related discrimination, provided your employer meets certain criteria.  

More specifically, the ADEA applies to you if you work within a governmental organization, an employment agency, a labor organization with at least 25 members, or for any other employer that has a workforce of 20 or more.

Common forms of pregnancy discrimination

As an American employee, you have certain protections in the workplace, and one of those protections involves your right to a work environment that is free from unlawful employment discrimination. Workplace discrimination can take on many forms, and one of the more common forms is pregnancy discrimination.

According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination if a supervisor, colleague or other work-related contact treats you differently or unfavorably because you are expecting, or because you have some type of medical condition related to your pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act sets guidelines as to what types of behaviors might constitute pregnancy discrimination, and these actions may include:

What constitutes retaliation from an employer

There is a range of situations that might motivate an employer to retaliate against you. Perhaps you have rebuffed advances or drawn attention to a concern, or maybe you have done nothing at all.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, claims of retaliation filed with the EEOC recently reached an all-time high, so it is clearly not a rare occurrence. If you have been punished in any of the following ways for engaging in legal and protected actions, you may have experienced retaliation from your employer. 

What components should be in an employment contract?

Employment contracts are legally binding documents that provide important details about employer and employee obligations and expectations. Not all employment offers and contracts are the same. Some contracts may benefit the company more than the workers. People who are thinking about accepting a job offer in Chanhassen should take some time to learn about the key elements their employment contracts should include so they can avoid complications in the future.

What constitutes workplace retaliation?

As an employee in Minnesota, you have certain rights, and your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you or punish you if you make the decision to exercise these rights. For example, if you witness or experience discrimination or sexual harassment at work and "blow the whistle" about the incident to a supervisor, you are legally protected in your right to do so. Similarly, if you refuse a supervisor's advances or refuse to obey the orders of a superior because you are being asked to do something you know is illegal, you cannot be retaliated against for taking action against them.

Does your employer have to tell you why you were fired?

Being fired from your job in Minneapolis can be a devastating blow, particularly if you believe that your termination was not justified. Very rarely are people fired without a reason. However, oftentimes employers may be unclear as to exactly what that reason may be. If you left the meeting in which you were determined feeling that way, then you justly question what motivated your employer's actions. Given that Minnesota is an "at-will" employment state, many may believe that it is OK for a company to fire you without providing any reason at all. However, that is not the case.

The definition of at-will employment as given by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is that when such a scenario exists, either the employer or the employee can end their association for any reason whatsoever. Notice, however, that it does not say that a reason does not need to be given. Minnesota law, in fact, requires that one be provided.

What is an at-will employee?

You may share the same line of thinking as many in Minneapolis in that you cannot be fired by your employer without good cause. Yet is this true? Unless you or a family member or friend has had to deal with a firing before, then you are likely unfamiliar with the term "at-will employee." What does this mean, and could you be one without knowing it?

An at-will employee is one that can be fired at any time for any reason. The state's Department of Labor and Industry website shows that Minnesota is indeed an at-will state. So yes, in most cases, you are considered to be an at-will employee. However it should be understood that you simply working in an at-will state does not always give your employer impunity if it decides to fire you on a whim.