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December 2013 Archives

Court: 'inadequate' EEOC pre-trial effort no defense for employer

In 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against an Illinois-based mining company that, despite numerous highly-qualified applicants, hadn’t hired a single female miner since it opened operations. The company offered an unusual defense. The lawsuit should be thrown out, it said, because the EEOC’s efforts to settle the complaint through its pre-trial conciliation process had been inadequate.

Using trusts to minimize estate taxes

A lot of Minnesota readers know that a big element in estate planning is tax planning. It is not everyone’s top priority, but for those who may have estates near or over the amount for the federal or state exemptions, planning in advance for tax efficiency can be an important way to pass more assets onto the next generation.

Harried Nursing Board wants more power to crack down on workers

A highly-negative series in the Star Tribune has put the Minnesota Board of Nursing on edge. As we discussed early last month, the Star Tribune series uncovered a few hundred cases in which nurses were still working despite misdemeanor records that may disqualify them from direct patient care, and a few accused of serious misconduct.

Emails are the new shoebox full of letters from grandma

A lot of Minnesota have a shoe box (or hat box, or file folder) full of letters from past generations. These mementos of personal correspondence link us to our relatives who are no longer with us and give us a sense of the family’s history. Today, parents and grandparents are writing fewer long-form letters that are sent in the mail, and keeping up with friends and family is done over email or social networking sites. Some of our correspondence might be as simple as a Facebook “like” or as long as an email updating our friends on some of life’s bigger issues.

4 veteran administrators fired by Rutgers cite age discrimination

Being fired because of discrimination is always appalling, but for those who’ve loyally served an organization for years only to be wrongfully terminated just as they near retirement, it can mean a major financial setback, as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when older workers are able to find new work at all, they typically end up earning 20 percent less than before.

Estate planning is a family affair

Estate planning is an important part of becoming an adult. It is a responsibility that many people leave until they reach a certain life event. This might be graduating from college, buying a home, or having a child. However, it is important that anyone over the age of 18 takes steps to ensure their wishes would be followed if the unexpected was to happen.

Does your workplace atmosphere support employees' mental health?

Every workplace creates a culture, and a positive one can support and energize employees. Even in the absence of discrimination or harassment, a poor one can be draining, disaffecting, or even antagonistic. With the recent controversy over whether the Miami Dolphins’ locker room culture, a lot of people have been thinking about workplace culture and its effect on employees.

Man established charitable trust as his sole beneficiary

In a recent post on this blog we discussed the story of a woman who lived modestly and out of the public eye until she left a surprisingly large fortune to local scholarship funds in her will. It is more common than many readers realize for people who have accumulated significant savings to continue to live a modest lifestyle, particularly if they grew up living modestly. Another case like this recently made the news, when a man who worked for many years as a lawyer for the Veterans Administration made a bequest in his will of over $187 million to three different charitable groups.

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