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What to know about some important employment law topics

When it comes to their employment, many people want to be respected not only for the quality of their work, but also for their work ethic. As such, they push themselves to do their best or even surpass their employer's expectations.

This is not to say, however, that those employees who push themselves are pushovers. To the contrary, most expect that their employer will treat them with respect and provide equitable treatment in all matters.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that this doesn't always happen. Indeed, some employers will often try to deceive their employees, or even violate their rights under both federal and state law.  

In light of this reality, today's post will focus on what Minnesota law has to say about a few basic concepts: overtime, breaks and school visits.

Overtime

In general, an employer has the right to create a work schedule as they see fit, including the hours that employees are expected to work. Furthermore, no limit exists concerning the number of overtime hours an employer can schedule employees to work and no advance notice of any change in employee hours is required.

However, while employers do have the right to terminate those employees who refuse to work scheduled hours, they must always pay overtime -- one and a half times regular pay -- to those employees who work in excess of 48 hours in a given workweek.

Breaks

Under Minnesota law, employees must be provided with time to use the restroom and eat a meal. Regarding the former, time allocated for restroom use must be granted within every four consecutive work hours. As for the latter, time for a meal must only be provided to those employees who work eight or more consecutive work hours, and in the event the meal break is less than 20 minutes, it will count toward the number of hours worked.

School visits

In addition to being able to use vacation time for school visits, employees also have the right under state law to take a maximum of 16 hours of unpaid leave per year to attend school-related events, including childcare matters, early childhood program activities, school conferences, field trips, etc.

Here's hoping the following post provided some valuable information about employee rights in Minnesota. However, it's still very important to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have questions or believe these employee rights have been violated.

Source: The Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, "Labor Standards -- Frequently asked questions about hours," Accessed Sept. 25, 2014 

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