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October 2013 Archives

Target makes Minnesota's criminal history law nationwide policy

In May, Governor Dayton signed into law a bill that extends Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” law to private employers. “Ban the Box” was first passed in 2009 but only applied to public employers, but it will now require private employers to eliminate check-boxes about criminal convictions from job applications by the end of the year.

States suffer in trend of misclassifying employees as contractors

The question of whether workers are the legal employees of or independent contractors for the companies they work for is important to individuals, because independent contractors are often paid much less and are not entitled to benefits. It's also important to the government because businesses don't pay employment taxes for contractors.

Incomplete will leads to legal battle

A man’s son’s are involved in litigation over their late father’s estate after his sudden death prevented him from completing an updated estate plan. The man had drafted a plan in 2000 that was complete and properly executed but decided to change it dramatically in 2012, diverting funds that he had planned to leave to his real estate development company to a charitable trust he named for his dog. Unfortunately the man passed away suddenly, just four days after checking with attorneys to see when he could sign the final papers to finish the process.

What are an employee's rights if a discrimination claim fails?

When people suspect discrimination in the workplace, one of the things they worry most about is what will happen to them if they file a complaint. Both Minnesota and federal anti-discrimination laws prohibit employer retaliation when employees stand up for their rights. Nonetheless, many people fear that their employers will take some revenge anyway, especially if their claims fail.

Do Minnesota estate taxes apply to your family?

A lot of middle class families do not realize that they could potentially qualify for the estate tax or may not even have it on their radar because they think it is a problem only for the very wealthy. However, when you add up real estate, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets many families might be surprised to see how fast their holdings add up to reach the $1 million mark.

Lawsuit: hospital workers fired for reporting sanitation issues

Two housekeeping workers have filed a lawsuit against a Kaiser hospital in California and its contract cleaning service, claiming they were fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on unsanitary conditions that affected both workers and patients. The women were targeted not only as whistleblowers, they say, but also because they had filed workers’ compensation claims. Employer retaliation for either of those reasons by federal law and by the laws of both California and Minnesota.

Only 107 EEOC employees still at work during government shutdown

It doesn’t appear that the shutdown of the federal government that began on Tuesday is likely to end quickly, that that could cause some headaches for workers. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor has had to put more than 80 percent of its workforce on furlough, leaving only 2,954 Labor Department employees on the job nationwide. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a division of the Labor Department, and its workforce has been cut even more deeply -- to 5 percent of its usual size. That means a total of 107 people are currently on staff at the EEOC.

Estate planning and tax planning go hand-in-hand

When Minnesotans think about estate planning, one of the first topics that probably comes to mind is tax planning. This issue has recieved a lot of attention over the past few years as a hot political topic, but it also has very real applications in our regular lives. One way that the estate tax matters is during the planning process, since it only applies to estate valued over a certain threshold, currently set at about $5 million for an individual.

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